Congestive Heart Failure

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Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure meaning (CHF) is a persistent, potentially fatal illness that interferes with the heart's ability to pump blood. It is a gradual, chronic illness that impairs the ability of your heart muscle to contract. CHF refers particularly to the stage when the heart is unable to pump because of fluid build-ups inside it.

Your heart has four chambers. The heart is divided into two halves: the upper half, which consists of two atria, and the lower half, which consists of two ventricles. The atria receive blood from the body as it cycles back from the rest of the body, while the ventricles pump blood to the body's organs and tissues.

When your ventricles are unable to pump enough blood to the body, CHF occurs. Blood and other fluids can eventually back up within your abdomen, lungs, liver, and lower body. Having CHF can be fatal. In the event that you or someone you know has CHF, get help right away.

The factors that may have an impact on outcomes for patients with CHF are explained below. It discusses actions you can do to lessen some of the risk factors that can cause unfavourable results. Also, you will know the necessity of opting for health insurance to safeguard your hard-earned money in case you or anyone in your family gets diagnosed with CHF.

What Can Cause CHF?

Heart failure may imply that the heart has ceased beating. In actuality, it indicates ineffective heart function. CHF is not an exception to this rule. Two ventricles and two atria make up the heart. The atria receive the blood and circulate it back through the other body parts while the ventricles pump it to the body's cells and tissues. Your ventricles stop pumping enough blood to your body once you get CHF.

Congestive cardiac failure can have a number of different reasons. The same is covered in the section that follows

Coronary artery disease This condition affects the arteries that supply the heart with blood and oxygen. This disorder causes the arteries to narrow, reducing blood flow to the heart muscles. Therefore, if the arteries are obstructed or narrowed, the heart may go without oxygen and nourishment.

Hypertension One of the main contributors to heart failure is frequently high blood pressure. The hardening of your arteries may lead to hypertension. Congestive heart failure is the result of increased artery pressure.

Heart attack When your coronary artery becomes clogged, the blood supply to your heart muscles is cut off. This results in a heart attack. In the end, it causes scarring within the heart and destroys the cardiac muscles.

Cardiomyopathy In addition to artery or blood flow issues, heart damage can also result from various infections. Additionally, addiction to alcohol or other substances may result in cardiomyopathy, which can harm your heart.

How Does Congestive Heart Failure Manifest – Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

You most likely will not notice any changes in your health in the early stages of CHF. It is only with the worsening of the disease that you may notice slow changes in your body. Here are some significant signs of congestive cardiac failure (stage-wise):

Symptoms you could initially experience Symptoms that your illness has gotten worse Symptoms of an extreme cardiac condition
Fatigue Abnormal heart rate Upper body pain that originates in the chest
Weight gain A cough brought on by congested lungs Your skin appears blue because your lungs aren't getting enough oxygen.
Your ankles, feet, and legs will swell Wheezing Quick breathing
Increased urination, particularly at night Breathlessness, which could be a sign of pulmonary oedema Fainting

A heart attack may also be indicated by upper-body pain coming from the chest. Seek quick medical assistance if you encounter this or any other signs that could indicate a serious cardiac issue.

What Kinds of Congestive Heart Failure Exist?

You must be interested in learning more about the many varieties of CHF now that you are aware of its causes. Left-sided and right-sided congestive heart failure are the two main forms. The two varieties of CHF on the left side are detailed below.

Systolic heart failure This condition develops when your left ventricle is unable to effectively carry out its functions. It lessens the amount of power used to circulate blood, ultimately reducing how effectively the heart can pump blood.

Diastolic heart failure This is a condition that develops when the muscles in your left ventricle stiffen. Your heart is unable to relax and pump blood throughout your body in between beats.

On the other hand, if your right ventricle is unable to pump blood to your lungs, right-sided CHF may develop. Your body experiences fluid retention in the belly and other important organs as a result of blood clotting in your veins.

Heart Failure Signs in Children and Infants

Heart failure in newborns and young children can be challenging to spot. Some signs could be:

  • Poor nutrition

  • Excessive perspiration

  • Having trouble breathing

These signs and symptoms are frequently mistaken for colic or a respiratory infection. Children who experience heart failure may also exhibit poor development and low blood pressure. In certain instances, you might be able to feel a baby's rapid heartbeat through its chest wall when they are at rest.

What Various Stages of Congestive Heart Failure Exist?

Stages Symptoms Treatment
1 In this period, you hardly ever encounter any symptoms. The majority of the time, doctors will recommend minor lifestyle adjustments and heart drugs.
2 At first, it feels pleasant. However, you might experience exhaustion, breathlessness, and palpitations during vigorous activity. In addition to a change in lifestyle and heart medications, careful monitoring is added at this stage.
3 Exercise is limited since even small motions might make you tired, gasping for air, or get your heart racing. However, when you're sleeping, you feel comfy. In this stage, the treatment gets increasingly challenging. Consult your doctor; the best course of action will depend on your health.
4 In this stage, it will be difficult for you to engage in any physical activity without experiencing the symptoms mentioned above. Also, you can carry out tasks when you're sleeping. At this point, there is hardly any treatment for CHF. For the best course of action, you can still speak with your doctor and get a second opinion.

Prognosis by Stage

The stage and underlying cause of CHF, as well as a person's age, sex, and socioeconomic level, all affect the diagnosis. The spectrum of CHF stages is 1 through 4.

Stage 1 The stage of heart failure in which there is a high risk but no symptoms or structural heart problems;

Stage 2 Structural heart disease without any heart failure symptoms or indications (also known as pre-heart failure);

Stage 3 Structural heart disease accompanied by previous or present heart failure symptoms;

Stage 4 Despite efforts to improve treatment, advanced heart failure is marked by recurring hospitalisations.

Depending on the stage of congestive heart failure you are experiencing, you may or may not live. Your chances of survival will be improved if you can get a quick diagnosis. The five-year survival rate is approximately 97% when detected in stage A, but it drops to barely 20% when diagnosed in class 4, according to a 2017 analysis.

Your prospects of overcoming this disease are great thanks to medical science's advancements. With the right medicine, surgery, or lifestyle modifications, it can be improved. Your health issues will have a significant impact on your congestive heart failure treatment and the chance of survival. People with severe diabetes and high blood pressure, for instance, have a decreased probability of surviving.

The four stages of CHF are represented in the table below, along with five-year mortality data.

Stages Survival Rates (5-year)
1 0.97
2 0.957
3 0.746
4 0.2

Who is Susceptible to Congestive Heart Failure?

Older persons, particularly those who are 65 years or older, may observe some signs of congestive cardiac failure. There are a number of reasons, including diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, valvular disease, kidney damage, etc., that can cause the heart to work too hard. Heart failure may develop as a result over time.

The Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure

Your regular physician may suggest a cardiologist to manage your case after evaluating your symptoms for congestive heart disease. Physical examinations are the first step in the congestive heart failure diagnosis process. The doctors will listen to your heart rhythm with a stethoscope to look for any irregularities. They might also recommend additional tests to examine the health of your heart's chambers, valves, and blood arteries.

Here are some ways to identify congestive heart failure symptoms

ECG Doctors use an electrocardiogram to examine the rhythm and beat of your heart. The possibility that your heart chambers are thicker than normal can be suggested by abnormalities such as rapid or irregular beating. It indicates the potential for a heart attack.

Blood Tests Blood tests may be required to rule out the possibility of infections and abnormal blood cells. These examinations include testing kidney, liver, and blood count functioning. Additionally, it can evaluate the BNP level, a hormone that may arise in association with the risk of heart failure.

Echocardiogram During an echocardiogram, your heart's structure and motion are recorded using sound waves. The lines on the report tell if you are experiencing problems with blood flow, muscle injury, or cardiac muscle contraction.

Chest X-ray X-rays of the chest are another useful diagnostic technique for CHF. It evaluates the size of your heart and any fluid accumulation in your blood vessels and lungs. X-rays are recommended by doctors before you begin treatment.

MRI This examination uses a camera to capture both still and moving images of your heart. It aids doctors in assessing your heart's current condition and potential problems.

Cardiac catheterisation It can reveal coronary artery blockages. Doctors will thread a tiny tube from your upper thigh, wrist, or arm into your blood vessels.

Congestive Heart Failure Prevention

While some elements are based on our genetics, lifestyle choices can also be important. You can take a number of steps to lessen your risk of developing heart failure. Here are a few of them:

Prevent or stop smoking

Ask your doctor for advice on aids and services if you smoke and haven't been able to stop. A health risk is also posed by passive smoke. Ask your roommate to smoke outside if they do smoke.

Follow a Balanced Diet

A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is heart-healthy. You should consume protein as well.

Precautions to take include:

  • Sugar

  • Excess salt (sodium)

  • Solid fats

  • Refined foods

Watch Your Weight

It might be difficult on your heart to be obese or overweight. Maintain a balanced diet and exercise frequently. Consult a doctor about your options if you are not at a healthy weight for your body. A nutritionist or dietician can also be consulted.

Exercise Daily

Your heart health can be improved with as little as 1 hour of moderate aerobic activity per week. Exercises like swimming, biking, and walking are all beneficial. Start with simply 15 minutes a day if you haven't worked out in a while, then build your way up from there.

Consider taking a gym session, which can even be online, or signing up for personal training at a nearby gym if you lack the motivation to exercise alone.

A Few More Preventive Steps

Limit your alcohol consumption and abstain from using illegal drugs. Follow the directions on your prescription medication carefully, and never raise the dosage on your own without consulting your doctor first.

You can still follow these instructions if you have heart damage or are at high risk of developing heart failure. Ask your doctor about the appropriate level of exercise and any other limits you may have.

What Does the Future Looks Like for a Patient with CHF

With medicine, surgery, or a change in lifestyle, your disease might become better. Your prognosis depends on the stage of your CHF and whether you need to treat any coexisting illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure.

The better your prognosis, the earlier your disease is diagnosed. The optimal course of treatment for you should be discussed with your doctor.

The Need for a Critical Illness Medical Insurance from Tata AIG

Congestive heart failure is a serious health issue, as you can see. You get this condition when fluids accumulate in your body and obstruct your heart's ability to pump blood. Doctors advise patients to seek a diagnosis as soon as possible so that therapy can start right away. When cancer is detected early on, the survival rates are typically very high.

However, the whole process of getting diagnosed with the disease and getting treated for the same is costly. And as a responsible individual, it’s always better to have a health insurance plan in place to save money. With a critical illness cover that can cover the treatment costs of CHF, you can very well save your money and avoid making a hole in your pockets!

At Tata AIG, the whole process of comparing, purchasing and renewing insurance plans is super simple and straightforward. The claim process is also hassle-free. You may simply review and compare different health insurance plans, the sum insured offered, the medical expenditures covered, and the applicable premium.

We have partnerships with more than 7200 hospitals nationwide where you can submit claims without paying cash. In case of hospitalisation, inform us a few days prior, and we shall take care of the bill. The prior intimation is not necessary in case of emergency hospitalisation.

According to Section 80D of the Income Tax Act of 1961, you are not required to pay taxes on the premium you pay when you get medical insurance. You may claim to deduct a maximum of INR 25,000 if the insured individuals are under the age of 60. You can claim a deduction of an additional INR 50,000 if you've additionally bought insurance for an older parent who is over 60. Health insurance tax benefits are, however, subject to change in Income Tax legislation.

Disclaimer / TnC

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Related Articles

Is Congestive heart failure a genetic disease? Can modifying your lifestyle help you avoid it?

Is Congestive heart failure a genetic disease? Can modifying your lifestyle help you avoid it?


Heart failure can result from cardiomyopathy or damage to the heart muscle, and some forms of cardiomyopathy may be inherited. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is not typically inherited, though. Hypertension, diabetes, and coronary artery disease are a few examples of risk factors for CHF that can run in families. Consider making lifestyle adjustments like eating a balanced diet and regular exercise to lower your chances of having CHF.

What is the CHF progression rate?


CHF is a chronic illness. The stages progress over a period of weeks or months, just like the symptoms.

Can early diagnosis help treat the disease better?


Although the prognosis for CHF may appear dismal, lifestyle modifications and medications might be helpful. They can increase your chances of survival and halt the course of CHF. By keeping an eye on your symptoms and giving up bad habits, you may take the initiative. A healthy diet and regular exercise can be beneficial.

What are the usual medications for CHF?


A few medications have been proven to lower hospitalisations and fatalities in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. The following medicines may be prescribed by medical professionals in some combinations: Beta Blockers ARB or ACE inhibitors Spironolactone Ivabradine Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors Entresto