According to the American Heart Association, there are over five million Americans suffering from congestive heart failure. The same organization projects that 550,000 new cases of congestive heart failure are diagnosed each year. Congested heart failure is a condition wherein the heart is too weak to pump blood to the body. As such the body does not get enough oxygen and nutrients that it needs to function properly. It can be fatal if not treated immediately. To get treatment, the patient needs to be diagnosed first and it won’t happen unless the patient reports the symptoms of congestive heart failure to his doctor.
Below is a guide on how to recognize the symptoms of advanced congestive heart failure.
Know if you are at risk for congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure can develop even in healthy individuals. However, you have a better chance of knowing that you have congestive heart failure if you know that you are at risk for it. People with coronary heart disease, heart valve disorders, and high blood pressure are highly susceptible to developing congestive heart failure. The same thing also goes for people with a long history of alcohol abuse. Patients who take diabetes medications like rosiglitazone and pioglitazone are also at risk for congestive heart failure. Additionally, obese people and those with high levels of bad cholesterol in the body are also at a high risk for this condition.
Know the symptoms of congestive heart failure. The symptoms vary from individual to individual. Once you have an idea of whether you are prone to developing congestive heart failure, you will be more equipped to decide if the symptoms you are having are indicative of the disease. Here are some of the most common symptoms of congestive heart failure.
- Fatigue/weakness – Because their body does not get the amount of oxygen and nutrients that it needs, people with congestive heart failure get tired easily. Keep in mind, however, that fatigue is a symptom of other diseases too, so it should be taken together with other symptoms.
- Edema – The body of a person with congestive heart failure gets overloaded with fluids, causing the ankles, legs, or abdomen to swell.
- Dyspnea and orthopnea – Because of fluids accumulating in the lungs, a person with congestive heart failure will find himself short of breath, medically referred to as dyspnea, when doing any task. In addition, they find it difficult to breathe when lying flat on the back, a condition called as orthopnea.
- Tachycardia – Because the heart is having a difficult time pumping blood to the body, it may have irregular or rapid beats.
- Loss of appetite – The accumulation of fluid in the abdomen will induce feelings of bloatedeness and loss of appetite.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion, memory loss or disorientation
- Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged mucus (productive sputum)
These are the symptoms of congestive heart failure. Learn to recognize these symptoms especially if you have a risk of developing congestive heart failure. This might save your life in the future.