Congestive Heart Failure (Cardiomyopathy)


What is Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)?

Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart is no longer performing well and not able to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. A cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart is not pumping adequately. The body will compensate by holding on to fluid, causing blood and fluid to back up into the lungs and the rest of one’s body.


What are the common symptoms of CHF?

Common symptoms include shortness of breath during physical exertion or when lying down, fatigue or weakness, swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet, rapid or irregular heartbeat, reduced ability to exercise, persistent cough or wheezing, swelling of the abdomen, sudden weight gain from fluid retention, lack of appetite or nausea, difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness, and chest pain.


What are the risk factors of CHF?

Common risk factors include high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart attack, irregular heartbeats, diabetes, sleep apnea, and some congenital heart defects.


What is the treatment of CHF?

Medications can improve the symptoms of CHF. Many medications can also help improve how a heart performs. When CHF becomes severe, a machine called a Ventricular Assist Device or a heart transplant may be the best course of action.