According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 5.7 million people in the country experience heart failure.
Unfortunately, half of those people pass away within five years of their diagnosis. In order to avoid becoming another negative statistic, it's critical to be proactive about your overall health. By understanding cognitive heart failure, plus its causes, symptoms and prevention options, you can prepare for the future health of your heart and live a long, fulfilling life.
Here's everything you need to know about congestive heart failure:
What is congestive heart failure?
The heart is a vital organ that pumps blood throughout the body. When congestive heart failure occurs, the heart isn't able to perform the way it's designed to, which means the body cannot receive proper nourishment, according to the American Heart Association. When this happens, the kidneys receive less blood and cannot filter the right amount of fluid out of the circulation of urine. This fluid builds up in areas such as the lungs, liver and around the eyes, resulting in issues that can be detrimental to overall health.
Remember: Heart failure doesn't mean your heart has stopped working completely; rather, it's not functioning the way it's supposed to.
What causes congestive heart failure?
According to Healthline, congestive heart failure is caused by other conditions that occur and cause damage to the heart. Those include:
- Hypertension – When your blood vessels become clogged by cholesterol and fat, your blood pressure can rise and lead to heart failure.
- Coronary artery disease – When cholesterol blocks your coronary arteries, the transporters that deliver blood to the heart, you may develop this disease, which can ultimately cause congestive heart failure.
- Heart valve malfunction – When your heart valves don't open and close properly, your ventricles are forced to work harder. This makes it difficult to pump blood correctly, which may cause congestive heart failure to occur.
- Various conditions – Other chronic conditions that are indirectly related to heart problems, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity and severe infection may increase one's risk of developing congestive heart failure.
What are the symptoms?
There are a number of common symptoms that may be warning signs of congestive heart failure. When each one stands alone, it may not be serious. The occurrence of multiple at a time should be a cause for concern. Here are some of the main warning signs of heart failure, according to the AHA:
- Dyspnea, or shortness of breath caused by blood backing up in the pulmonary veins.
- Fluid buildup throughout the body.
- Coughing and/or wheezing, caused by the buildup of fluid.
- Chronic fatigue, due to the heart's inability to pump enough blood throughout the body.
- Nausea and/or lack of appetite, which occurs when the digestive system stops receiving enough blood.
- Confusion, occurs when substance levels in the blood change.
- An increased heart rate, caused by the heart's desire to make up for lost time.
Heart failure prevention
Reducing your chance of experiencing heart failure is easier than you think. It's all about making smart lifestyle choices that can reduce your risk for developing the conditions. Here are a few suggestions from Mayo Clinic:
- Quit smoking.
- Make time for physical activity.
- Follow a well-balanced diet.
- Manage stress.
- Schedule regular appointments with your doctor.
By making health-conscious decisions and visiting your GP annually, you can ensure overall heart health.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living