Diagnosis of congestive heart failure is usually based upon a physical exam and the symptoms alone.
Therefore, diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure is rather straight forward, as in there aren’t any painful procedures to go through.
The cause of Congestive heart failure can be due to a number of conditions that damage the heart muscle, including a heart attack or heart infection; coronary artery disease; excessive alcohol consumption; an over- or under-active thyroid gland; and untreated high blood pressure.
Congestive heart failure can also be caused by damage to or abnormalities in the valves inside the heart, which regulate blood flow out of the heart, and genetic conditions, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscle becomes thickened due to enlarged heart muscle cells.
Factors such as high fever, anemia, lung infections, pulmonary embolism, high salt or fluid intake, overexertion, obesity, stress, and rapid heartbeat can worsen or trigger congestive heart failure in people with already weakened hearts.
During the physical exam, the health professional will check for a weak or rapid pulse rate, enlargement of the heart, swollen neck veins, swelling of the liver, fluid retention, sounds of fluid in the lungs, and abnormal heart sounds.
To confirm the diagnosis, the health professional may perform a number of tests, including:
- chest x-rays
- blood tests
- 12-lead electrocardiograms (EKGs)
- and exercise stress tests
Tests such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, and angiography create images of the heart’s activity and are also helpful in the diagnosis.
In this section
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