Congestive Heart Failure: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

What is CHF (Congestive Heart Failure)?

CHF stands for Congestive Heart Failure in medical terminology. CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) is defined as the chronic progressive condition in the human beings affecting the pumping power of the muscles of the heart. While most often, it might also be referred to as “heart failure,” Congestive Heart Failure specifically signifies the stage which leads to the building up of fluids around the heart muscles –causing the heart muscles to pump differently and inefficiently. 

CHF usually occurs when the ventricles of the heart are not able to pump a sufficient amount of blood to the body. As a result, blood and other types of fluids can be formed inside the lungs, liver, abdomen, and lower body. CHF or Congestive Heart Failure can turn out to be life-threatening. As such, if you or anyone close to you has developed CHF-like symptoms, it is high time that you seek medical assistance as soon as possible. 

There are different types of CHF-related problems that you must know about. Left-sided Congestive Heart Failure is the most common type of the given problem. It occurs when the left ventricle of your heart is not able to pump blood to the body. The left-sided CHF can be categorized as:

  • Systolic heart failure when the left-sided ventricle is not able to contract normally. 
  • Diastolic heart failure when the muscles in the left ventricle of the heart become stiff.

Right-sided CHF might also occur in some cases when the right ventricle of the heart faces difficulty in pumping blood to the body. 

How does CHF Occur?

CHF or Congestive Heart Failure might be the result of additional health conditions that might be directly affecting the cardiovascular system of your body. Some of the common causes include:

  • Hypertension –when the blood pressure is quite above the normal value
  • Coronary artery disease –cholesterol along with other fatty substances blocking the coronary arteries of the heart
  • Heart valve conditions –when the valves of the heart do not open or close properly due to some defect or infection
  • Other conditions –some of the heart-related diseases and other health conditions including diabetes, obesity, thyroid disease, and others might also lead to CHF.

Who is Prone to CHF?

If you happen to be leading an unhealthy lifestyle, it could be a major cause of CHF. Moreover, if you are overweight or have some chronic diseases affecting the health of your heart, then also you are prone to CHF and its related symptoms. 

What are the Symptoms of CHF? How is CHF Diagnosed?

In the early stages of CHF, the signs of CHF might not be significantly noticeable. However, as the condition progresses, the CHF symptoms might become worth noticing. 

Some of the symptoms of CHF in humans that you might notice initially might include:

  • Swelling in the ankles, legs, and feet
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Increased need to urinate frequently –especially during the night

The symptoms of CHF indicating that the situation has worsened include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Wheezing
  • A cough developing out of congested chest or lungs
  • Shortness of breath

Chest pain or discomfort radiating from the upper body part could also be the signs and symptoms of CHF in elderly


Once you have reported the signs of CHF to the doctor, you might be referred to some heart specialist or cardiologist. Here are some of the tests that the heart specialist or cardiologist might recommend:

  • An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • An MRI
  • An echocardiogram
  • Blood tests
  • Stress tests
  • Cardiac catheterization

What are the Complications of CHF?

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Risks of heart failure

What is the treatment for CHF?

Depending on your health and how far the CHF symptoms might have progressed, the doctor might recommend different treatments including:

  • The consumption of Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors like lisinopril, benazepril, ramipril, and so more. 
  • Beta-blockers including Sectral, Zebeta, Cartrol, and others could help in reducing the blood pressure
  • Diuretics including Thiazide, Loop, and Potassium-sparring diuretics can reduce the fluid content of the blood.
  • In some cases, when the CHF conditions have progressed significantly, then the doctors might recommend surgeries as well. 

Home Remedies for CHF

Some of the effective remedies that you can try out at home for CHF treatment include quitting smoking, keeping weight under control, eating a healthy diet, keeping a check of your heart’s health periodically, consuming limited quantities of trans or saturated fats in your daily diet, and so more.

Did You Know?

  • Obesity, increased heartbeat, diabetes, and increased blood pressure could be the risk factors to CHF.
  • There could be more than one type of CHF.
  • It is not always easy to pinpoint the CHF symptoms

Related Links

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