What is congestive heart failure?

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heart failure

The term  congestive heart failure (CHF) is used in-terchangeably with the term  heart failure; they bothindicate the same condition. Heart failure is a condi-tion that results from the inability of the heart to pumpblood effectively to the rest of the body or the heart re-quires a higher filling pressure in order to pump effec-tively. Put simply, heart failure means that your heartcan’t pump enough blood to keep all your body’s tissuesand organs working properly.

It is important to note that the definition of congestiveheart failure does not identify any particular problemwith the heart or blood vessels. That is because heartfailure itself is not a disease, but develops as a result ofother conditions that damage the heart. Common conditions that can damage the heart include:

● Long-term, untreated high blood pressure

● Coronary artery disease

● Heart attack

● Diseases of heart muscle itself (cardiomyopathy)

● Viral infections of the heart muscle (myocarditis)

● Toxins that affect the heart muscle (such as somechemotherapy agents)

● Diseases of the heart valves (endocarditis)

Sometimes CHF develops quickly, over days to weeks,but most often congestive heart failure develops slowly,as the heart gradually weakens and has more difficultykeeping up with its workload.

Heart failure may range in severity from a moderatedecrease in function without any symptoms to signifi-cant damage that leaves a person seriously weakenedand very symptomatic. Although heart failure is a serious condition, much can be done to manage its effectsand its impact on a patient’s life.

Heart failure is a term that is frequently misused, espe-cially when given as a cause of death. Heart failure isnot synonymous with “cessation of heartbeat”; rather itimplies an inability of the heart to keep up with the de-mands of the body.

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