Q:

How do you recognize symptoms of advanced congestive heart failure?

A:

Quick Answer

Shortness of breath is the most common symptom of congestive heart failure, states MedicineNet. It may be due to fluid in the lungs or insufficient blood pumped to the organs in times of stress.

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Full Answer

The shortness of breath can occur with activity or exertion or while lying flat, or it can awaken an individual from sleep. Chest pain may be present, especially if the underlying cause of the failure is atherosclerotic heart disease, explains MedicineNet. Patients with right heart failure leak fluid into the tissue and organs that deliver blood to the right heart through the vena cava. Pressure in blood vessels causes leakage into the space between cells causing fluid to accumulate in the feet and ankles that may gradually rise up to involve the legs. The liver and abdomen can swell as fluid accumulates. The individual may feel bloated and nauseous, and he may have pain and abdominal distension.

The causes of congestive heart failure are poorly controlled high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and family history, notes MedicineNet. It can be a complication of other diseases, such as sleep apnea, alcohol and drug abuse, infections, and connective tissue disorders, such as lupus. Many patients with stable congestive heart failure decompensate when a complicating condition occurs, such as pneumonia, an infection of the lungs or a heart attack.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Is there a cure for congestive heart failure?

    A:

    There is no cure for heart failure, but the condition can be controlled and managed to decrease its progression, as stated by WebMD. Lifestyle modification and medications are used in combination with close monitoring to keep symptoms under control.

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  • Q:

    Is congestive heart failure reversible?

    A:

    Congestive heart failure is a long-term, chronic, progressive disease that is not reversible, according to the American Heart Association, especially when CHF has been caused by damage to the heart that has developed over time. Treatments are available, however, to lessen or improve the symptoms of CHF.

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  • Q:

    What is congestive heart failure, and is it terminal?

    A:

    Congestive heart failure, also simply called heart failure, means the heart is not pumping at its normal healthy level, according to Mayo Clinic. Congestive heart failure is not necessarily terminal, but it can be life-threatening in some cases, especially without proper treatment.

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  • Q:

    Can congestive heart failure be cured?

    A:

    Congestive heart failure cannot be cured. It is a chronic, long-term condition that requires close monitoring by a physician. Medicine, lifestyle changes, surgery and medical devices can help in treating the symptoms of congestive heart failure, as noted by MedlinePlus.

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