Congestive heart failure (CHF), also known as heart failure, relates to a condition where the heart muscle fails to circulate blood efficiently. It is a chronic condition that gradually worsens over time. If the ventricles, the chambers responsible for pumping out blood, cannot function efficiently, the fluid will begin to build up within the heart. It is a serious medical condition that can become life-threatening without treatment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the cause of death for 17.9 people per year, globally. As congestive heart failure usually stems from most CVDs, it is necessary to understand the various causes that lead to this medical issue.
- Coronary Artery Disease: This disease prevents arteries from supplying sufficient blood to the heart muscle. These arteries start to narrow down with plaque or fatty deposits, leading to reduced blood flow and eventual CHF.
- Hypertension: Hypertension or high blood pressure usually leads to increased tension, which creates pressure in the arteries. This condition forces the heart muscle to work harder than usual to circulate blood. Gradually, the heart will either become too weak or too stiff to do its job.
- Heart Attack: A heart attack can occur for various reasons, but we need to consider its after-effects in the context of CHF. A heart attack usually leaves the heart muscles damaged and scarred, which prevents the heart from functioning properly.
- Valvular Heart Disease: This disease affects the functioning of valves, leading to improper regulation of blood, in and out of the heart. Faulty valves caused by heart defects, coronary diseases, or other issues can lead to CHF.
- Cardiomyopathy: It technically means damages to a heart muscle. Such damage can occur because of alcohol abuse, substance abuse, infections, genetic factors, or other CVDs.
- Myocarditis: This refers to inflammations of a heart muscle. This inflammation leads to the death of heart muscle cells. The most common cause of myocarditis is virus infection. The outcome of it can range from mild issues to severe ones like CHF.
This is a full and comprehensive list of all the factors that lead to CHF. There are also some other causes such as HIV, arrhythmia, thyroid disorders, viral infections, etc., which are less common, but still can become very life-threatening. In short, any health issue that forces a heart to overexert itself might lead to CHF.
It becomes necessary to discuss how CHF can be prevented. The general advice here is simple: to live a healthy life. However, the lifestyle of the present-day can be very hectic for everyone in general. Therefore, it is necessary to follow some definitive steps to reduce the risk of any factor causing CHF.
- Stop Smoking
Smoking is one of the leading factors that cause arterial damage. It has already established that such damage can lead to coronary artery disease, which can lead to CHF. Therefore, quitting smoking might be the most efficient method of preventing medical complications.
- Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Being overweight and even obese usually forces an individual’s heart to overexert itself. According to WHO, obesity usually increases BMI, leading to various CDVs. Therefore, reducing weight to normalize the BMI might be another good alternative to prevent CHF.
- Physical Activity
Regular physical activity and the control of body weight are crucial ingredients for heart disease prevention. Exercising about five days a week might be enough for keeping the body in a healthy state.
- Eating Healthy
A healthy eating habit can help an individual go a long way in terms of preventing heart failure. Foods that have little fat, sugar, and sodium are most helpful in this regard. Therefore, most vegetables, fruits, lean protein foods, etc., are important in this context.
- Managing Stress
Reducing and managing stress is an essential factor for the well-being of the heart. Furthermore, managing stress is important to avoid high blood pressure.
Congestive heart failure is an issue that cannot be treated completely. The current medical science can only reduce the symptoms and slow the gradual degradation of the heart muscle. As there are various stages of heart failure, the treatment of CHF can be different for everyone.
The treatment for CHF would be to bring some lifestyle changes. The prevention methods elaborated in the previous section can be integrated to bring positive changes in diet, physical activities, and addictions. Nevertheless, in most cases, medication becomes inevitable for the afflicted individual.
- ACE Inhibitors or Vasodilator
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are vasodilators that can widen blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. These medications are essential to reduce the workload of the heart muscles.
These drugs are used to reverse some damage to the heart, slow down the heart rate, and reduce blood pressure. Beta-blockers can also be used to reduce the risks of arrhythmia.
It is a medicine that maintains healthy retention of bodily fluid in the body. The main aim of this medicine is to keep any fluid building inside a body. While diuretics usage is diverse, it can be used to reduce the chances of congestion of a human heart.
There are a plethora of medicines such as anticoagulants, tranquilizers, Lanoxin, or inotropes, all of which are useful for treating CHF. However, in some cases, medical devices and surgery become important for treating heart failure. Many patients do consider the usage of pill cutters to reduce medication costs, in case they can get by without surgery.
- Heart transplant: If the CHF becomes unresponsive to any other treatment, it needs to be replaced with a new one.
- Bypass Surgery: Mainly done to reroute blood around a blocked artery.
- Ventricular Assist Device: It assists in pumping blood around the body. It usually has to be attached to the heart.
- Heart valve surgery: The heart valve can be replaced or even repaired with the help of surgery. This surgery is necessary if the CHF is related to Valvular Heart Disease.
CHF is an acute condition which might pose a severe challenge to people around the world. Medical science has advanced, and medical practitioners have successfully cured various cardiac diseases. Though we have the treatment available for CHF to an extent, efforts to prevent heart failure is more advisable to complement treatment done through CHF medications. Therefore, people must focus more on preventing CHF with a healthy lifestyle.