What is Congestive Heart Failure? Diagnostic & Prevention Techniques
Congestive heart failure refers to a health condition that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently. It weakens the heart muscle, making it incapable of contracting effectively over time. As a result, blood is pumped into the heart faster than it is pumped out, causing congestion. 

Congestive heart failure causes a pumping problem that keeps all the organs of the body from getting enough oxygenated blood. Consequently, the heart starts beating faster to quickly refill with blood after contracting. However, blood circulation weakens with time, ultimately leading to heart palpitations. 

This condition also causes the heart to grow in size as it starts to fill with more blood. Due to insufficient blood circulation, the kidneys begin to retain water because they are not getting enough blood. This can cause kidney failure in patients with congestive heart failure. Moreover, the lungs are also affected since they start filling with fluid.  

Congestive heart failure symptoms include:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and lack of appetite
  • Reduced ability to engage in physical activity
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling in the abdomen, feet, legs, and ankles
  • Reduced concentration
  • Continued cough or wheezing 

How To Prevent Congestive Heart Failure?

You can avoid congestive heart failure by using the following prevention techniques: 

  • Eat foods that help in ideally maintaining your heart health. Experts suggest eating foods that have lower quantities of trans fat, saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. You can eat low-fat dairy items, fruits and vegetables, fatty fish, fish oil, avocados, walnuts, berries, skinless chicken, dark chocolate, tomatoes, beans, almonds, garlic, and olive oil. You may also consult a food expert to get the best advice on what to eat to keep your heart healthy.
  • If you are a smoker, stop, and those who don’t smoke, never start. Plus, avoid second-hand smoke. Smoking constricts the blood vessels in your body and heart, which worsens the symptoms of heart failure. It also leads to arterial damage, so stop smoking before it’s too late.
  • Exercising on a daily basis also prevents congestive heart failure. It helps keep your blood pressure at optimal levels and allows you to maintain your body weight, optimizing your heart health to a great extent. Moreover, exercise reduces stress and keeps you relaxed, putting less burden on your heart. A lot of smokers also find it easy to quit smoking by replacing it with daily exercise. 

How Is Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosed?

Doctors determine whether someone has congestive heart failure by analyzing the patient’s family and medical history. Doctors also conduct the following tests to arrive at their conclusion:

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Echocardiogram
  • Holter monitor
  • Exercise stress test
  • BNP blood test
  • Chest X-Ray

It is advisable to immediately see a doctor if you experience congestive heart failure symptoms, such as chest pain, dizziness, sudden shortness of breath, and coughing with white or pink foamy mucus. 

Needless to say, it is always a wise decision to visit a doctor instead of diagnosing yourself. Consulting a doctor in the early stages of an illness proves beneficial in preventing it from getting worse.

Book an appointment today at the Springfield Medical Clinic if you are going through any heart-related health issues to receive the best treatment on time.