When the heart is unable to meet the requirements of the body's blood supply, it leads to a serious medical condition commonly termed as congestive heart failure or CHF. There are many who believe that CHF is a kind of heart disease. However, it is one of those few factors that can lead to heart failure. CHF does not mean that the heart ceases to work completely. In reality, there are people diagnosed with CHF and have been living for many years.
People suffering from CHF experience several events of heart failure over the period of time yet they survive. However, it can not be considered as harmless. It has a different bearing on daily life and reduces the physical capabilities of a person. CHF occurs due to number of reasons. Family history of coronary disease, congenital heart defects, damaged heart valves, prior cardiac arrests and chronic high blood pressure are some of the reasons which can cause CHF.
Congestive heart failure occurs in various stages. The initial stage begins with the feelings of fatigue, tiredness and exhaustion when a person does some physical activity. These symptoms are so common that usually a person does not get alarmed by them. During this stage the person does not even realize that he or she is suffering from CHF. This stage usually goes unnoticed and is not so dangerous.
As the condition progresses, the symptoms become more pronounced leading to change in the daily lifestyle of the person. When the person is unable to perform routine exercise and experiences shortness of breath with slightest of physical activity, it means that the disease has progressed to the second stage. In this stage, the person may experience palpitations and often experience angina attacks. Even the mildest of physical activity can result in extreme discomfort, which can be alleviated with some rest.
As the stage advances to the next level, it has a massive impact on the daily routine of the person. Physical activity becomes limited. The person prefers to be at rest most of the times due to constant fatigue. Even the slightest physical activity can lead to swollen ankles, and rapid breathing. In addition, the person may feel the need to urinate frequently in the night.
The fourth stage is the final one. When person reaches this stage, he or she may experience extreme discomfort and normal daily living activities becomes impossible. Shortness of breath, persistent dry cough, bluish skin and palpitations are common in this stage.
The treatment varies with the stage. In the beginning, the person is prescribed drugs such as ACE inhibitors. These drugs assist in dilation of blood vessels and enhance the blood supply. Also, if the person is suffering from high blood pressure, he or she is prescribed Beta blockers to control the pressure. As the stage advances, surgery might be of some help. The only way to completely treat CHF is through a heart transplant.