Congestive Heart Failure

An Overview: Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a long term condition in which a weakened heart muscle cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. It is called “Congestive” because fluids typically build up in the body which is then said to be congested. The most common causes of Congestive Heart Failure are Coronary Artery Disease and Hypertension (high blood pressure). There are other factors that may also lead to CHF including cigarette smoking, heart defects, previous heart attacks, viral infections of the heart, lung disease and excess alcohol consumption.

Only your physician can diagnose you with CHF. Some of the symptoms you might experience that would lead you to consult with your physician include:

CHF SymptomsCongestive Heart Failure

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea) – Can be present with congestion in the lungs, especially during activity. Sometimes this worsens when you try to lay flat.
  • Fatique – Often presents itself when getting older or being out of shape. If this persists for long periods of time it may be a result of heart failure. This is a sign your organs are not getting the oxygen they need to function.
  • Swollen ankles and/or legs (edema) – Fluid being retained due to the heart’s inability to pump the fluid. Fluid build up may also cause weight fluctuations.
  • Loss of appetite – Excessive fluid accumulates in the digestive organs and gives you a sense of being full.
  • Persistent Coughing or Wheezing – Can occur as a result of congestion in the lungs.

Premier Home Care, Inc. trained, professional staff includes licensed clinicians as well as highly trained medical equipment technicians that will offer training and education on the equipment prescribed by your physician to treat COPD.

Premier Services to Help With CHF

CHF Medical Terms

What are some other factors that cause CHF?

  • Smoking
  • Previous heart attacks
  • Diseased heart valves
  • Heart defects present from birth
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Viral infections of the heart
  • Severe lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Unknown (idiopathic) causes

Frequently Asked Questions About Congestive Heart Failure

What is oxygen?
Oxygen is a drug that is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that is necessary for life. When we take a breath, we draw air into our lungs that contains 21% oxygen. The oxygen passes from our lungs into our bloodstream, where it is carried in the red blood cells to all the organs and tissues of our bodies.

Why do I need supplemental oxygen?
Normally oxygen passes readily from the lungs into the bloodstream and is pumped by the heart to all parts of the body. When lung disease occurs, oxygen may not be able to pass as readily into the bloodstream. This can cause many undesirable effects, such as a decreased ability to exercise, difficulty breathing, fatigue, confusion, loss of memory, etc. Breathing supplemental oxygen increases the amount of oxygen that passes into the bloodstream and that is carried to the organs and tissues. When the heart and/or lungs are diseased, they may not be able to supply as much oxygen-enriched blood as our bodies need.