Congestive Heart Failure Information
CHF, or congestive heart failure, is a medical condition wherein the heart is unable to pump oxygen-rich blood to the various parts of the body due to a problem with the valves of the heart, weakening of the muscle of the heart, stiffening of the muscle of the heart or diseases that cause more demand for oxygen that even the heart cannot keep up with.
In order to get more congestive heart failure information, it is important to understand the structure and the working of the heart. The heart is made up of 2 atria that form the upper portion of the heart and 2 ventricles that form the lower portion of the heart. When the muscle of the heart contracts, the ventricles pump the blood and this contraction is known as systole. It has been seen that in most people, CHF develops because there is a problem with ventricles as they are unable to pump the blood properly. When the ventricles relax, the atria pump the blood into the ventricles and this relaxation is known as diastole.
There are some diseases that cause the heart muscle to stiffen and these include hemochromatosis and amyloidosis. These two conditions cause a problem with the relaxation of the ventricles and result in a condition known as diastolic dysfunction. The ventricles can also suffer from diastolic dysfunction when a person does not get treated for elevated pressure of the blood for a prolonged period of time. In some people, CHF can occur due to diseases like anemia and hyperthyroidism. In these conditions, there is no problem with the heart, but they cause the tissues of the body to demand for more oxygen which the heart cannot provide. This results in a condition referred to as high output heart failure.
Any of the aforementioned conditions can result in congestive heart failure in a person. The condition is progressive in nature and usually the prognosis is not good. As the heart does not function properly, other organs are also affected, like the kidneys are unable to flush out the water and sodium from the body and this causes water retention and edema. The lungs also get affected and get filled with fluid and this causes the shortness of breath in people suffering from CHF. Even the liver and the intestines get affected with the liver being unable to eliminate the toxins from the body, while the intestines are unable to properly absorb the medicines and nutrients. So, basically, when a person suffers from congestive heart failure, all the organs are adversely affected and as the condition worsens, one by one the organs shut down leading to death of the person.
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