Congestive heart failure is a chronic condition wherein a person's heart is no longer able to pump blood throughout the body as efficiently as it is supposed to. Since the condition is common, many people don't realize that there are four basic types of it. The first type is left-sided heart failure. It affects only the left region of the heart. And, of course, right-sided heart failure affects only the right half of the heart. Then, there is systolic heart failure, which occurs when the left ventricle is too stiff to fully contract. Diastolic heart failure is less common since it only happens when the left ventricle of the heart can't relax enough to fill up with blood. Because of the impact that each of these types of congestive heart failure have on the body, it is crucial to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment methods for the condition.
There are several different causes of congestive heart failure. The first of which is coronary artery disease wherein the inside of the arteries of the body become covered with a thick layer of plaque. This most commonly occurs whenever a person eats a high-fat diet though. The plaque reduces the amount of blood that can flow through, which, in turn, causes the heart to become damaged over time because it has to work harder in order to pump blood. High blood pressure that is a result of other medical conditions can cause congestive heart failure too. And so can inflammation, faulty heart valves, and diseases that have an impact on a person's heart rhythm and function, such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Those who have previously had a heart attack often have the highest risk of getting the condition though.
The symptoms of congestive heart failure vary depending on the type of the condition that a person has. For example, with diastolic heart failure, a person will notice that their diastolic blood pressure is much lower than it is supposed to be, which is about 80. The same can happen with systolic heart failure too. Instead of getting a normal reading of about 120, a person might notice that it is less than 90. In order to tell if a person has either of the other types of congestive heart failure, a doctor will take a look at some of the other symptoms that can happen with them, such as fluid build-up in the lungs, edema in the feet and lower legs, fatigue, and shortness of breath when exercising or performing day-to-day tasks.
The treatment of congestive heart failure often begins with the use of medications to try to control the symptoms that a person is experiencing. So, if someone has high blood pressure, they may need beta-blocker medications to lower it. Low blood pressure requires medications to increase the strength of each heart beat. Edema can be reduced with pills that help with water retention. A person may also need to receive oxygen therapy if their oxygen level has become less than 80% because this can cause damage to some of the other organs, especially the kidneys. Finally, in cases of heart failure that are caused by faulty heart valves, a person may need to have surgery to repair them.