What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Understanding the basics about congestive heart failure and its symptoms will prepare you to care for your loved one and speak about the illness with the doctor and hospice staff. This article deals with basic information about the heart and how congestive heart failure affect the heart and entire body.

What is congestive heart failure?

Actually congestive heart failure does not mean the heart has failed, only that is has weakened. The heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively, and can affect the body in a number of ways. As the weakened heart moves less blood, fluid can back up into the lungs. Also the body receives less oxygen, and the kidneys lover and brain can be affect. Swelling can also occur, especially in the feet and legs.

What causes congestive heart failure?

Most commonly, coronary artery disease is the cause, with damage and weakening of the heart muscle. Other causes include:

  • Heart Attacks
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Valve Disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Infections

Remember that congestive heart failure is a progressive, chronic disease. This means that it is a long term condition that worsens over time. Because the heart can compensate, people can live for long periods of time after heart failure is diagnosed. However, as the heart weakens, the person may lose energy, get short of breath and develop lower leg swelling. But as these symptoms occur, they can be treated promptly and effectively by your physician and hospice team.