Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition where the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body to meet the body's demand. This condition can be caused due to weak heart muscle, stiffening of the heart muscle or the body tissue demand for oxygen-rich blood increase beyond what the heart can supply.
The heart is made up of two atria and two ventricles. It is the ventricles that pump the blood. There are many diseases that affect the ventricles. For instance, muscles of the ventricles can get weak after a heart attack or an infection like myocarditis. As the ventricle muscles get weak, the heart is unable to pump adequately and this leads to congestive heart failure.
Then there are diseases that stiffen the heart muscles. Here the ventricles lose their ability to relax so blood from the atria cannot fill the ventricles. Diseases like hemochromatosis and amyloidosis lead to stiffening of the ventricles. Sometimes, conditions like hyperthyroidism increase the demand for oxygen and this makes it difficult for the heart to meet the increased demand leading to congestive heart failure.
People can have any one condition or more than one that leads to congestive heart failure. CHF is also known to affect other organs of the body like the kidneys, lungs, liver and intestines . For instance, weak heart muscle may not be able to meet the blood demand of the kidneys and this can lead to water retention and inability of the kidney to excrete sodium.
So, what is a person's life expectancy with congestive heart failure? People with CHF can live for many years but it has been seen that 70 percent of people with congestive heart failure die within 10 years of the disorder being diagnosed. Usually life expectancy with congestive heart failure depends on how severe the condition is as this determines the treatment and corrective measures. People with mild congestive heart failure can live up to 10 years, while those with severe congestive heart failure can live up to 2 years.
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