Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart fails to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body, and there is a congestion of fluids in the tissue. The symptoms occur suddenly and the patient may need immediate hospitalization. For chronic conditions, the symptoms develop slowly and are treatable. There are different symptoms for different stages of this condition. The causes of congestive heart failure are diseases which weaken the heart muscles, for example, diseases like cardiomyopathy, coronary heart disease, etc. Some of the other contributors to heart failure are age, lifestyle, and alcoholism.
One of the most important organ of the human body is the heart because of its function of pumping oxygenated blood to the body. If for some reason this ability to pump blood is hampered, it can lead to symptoms like shortness of breath. It becomes difficult for people with a congestive heart condition to do physical activity because any kind of physical exertion leads to fatigue and weakness. In acute congestive heart failure, symptoms like severe chest pain are sudden, and the individual might need immediate medical attention.
Due to the lack of oxygen supply to the cells and tissues of the body, people experience swelling in the extremities. Swollen legs are one of the most common symptoms of chronic congestive heart failure, with women experiencing swollen ankles more than men due to this condition. Retention of fluid in cells and tissues, known as edema, leads to weight gain and other weight-related problems. This weight gain occurs in spite of loss of appetite experienced by people with a congestive heart condition.
Retention of fluid in the liver leads to problems like nausea and abdominal pain, which at times, can become unbearable. Cough and difficulty in breathing while lying down are also some of the symptoms of a congestive heart condition.
Statistics have attributed over 250,000 deaths every year to this condition. Aging is one of the cause of this condition, and the prognosis in the elderly depends on the nature of the underlying heart disease. The prognosis is variable, dependent on the individual's health; almost 50 percent of people living with this condition have a life expectancy of 3-5 years.
Complications like pulmonary edema have indicated that the advanced congestive heart condition is bleak with survival rates dropping to 15-20 percent in the age group of people over 50. In women, statistics have shown that ⅓ have died within the first 5 years of diagnosis. While stage 4 condition is bleak, complications like irregular heart rhythm, which can be fatal, has led to bad statistics. Although these statistics are unreliable, and for individual prognosis, it is best to rely on your physician. End stage prognosis leads to death, with almost 2 percent Americans suffering from this condition. In the end stages, the physical activity of the person gets restricted, and the person experiences chest pain and tiredness.
Congestive heart failure prognosis is generally poor with almost 50 percent of the patients dying within 5 years of being diagnosed. Habits like smoking and drinking alcohol also contribute to early demise in people with such heart conditions.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.