The full form of CHF is Congestive Heart Failure. In CHF heart’s ability to pump blood effectively is impaired due to which the supply of blood in the body gets affected and hence, the body is not able to get the blood it needs.
The heart has four chambers and consists of 2 ventricles in the lower chambers while the upper chambers consist of 2 atria. Part of the circulatory system, Artia gets blood from various parts of the body while on the other hand, ventricles pump oxygenated blood to various organs and tissues of the body. When a person is suffering from CHF the regular circulation in the body gets affected due to which other fluids of the body start getting accumulated around other parts of the body. This leads to an insufficient amount of blood received by the body.
What are the Causes of CHF?
If a person gets affected by any cardiovascular-related disease then there is a high chance of them getting affected by CHF as well. The main causes of CHF are – Hypertension and Coronary Artery disease. In the case of Hypertension, the arteries get narrow which leads to tension in blood vessels and hence, the blood flow starts getting affected. When a person is suffering from coronary artery disease cholesterol gets built up on artery walls due to which regular blood flow gets affected.
Other illnesses like diabetes and thyroid and some lifestyle habits like eating junk food too much and excessive alcohol consumption may also cause CHF.
Also Read: How to Become a Cardiologist?
Types of Congestive Heart Failure
The left side of the heart is where more pumping of the blood takes place (the left atrium receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and from there, it travels to the left ventricle from where the blood is pumped to the rest of the body). This is the very reason why heart failure is called left-sided heart failure. Following are the 2 types of heart failure:
1. Systolic Heart Failure – This type of heart failure happens when the left ventricle is not able to contract properly due to which it’s not able to push the blood properly and the circulation of the blood gets affected. If this force gets impaired then the heart is not able to function properly.
2. Diastolic Heart Failure – In this case the muscle in the left ventricle becomes hard. In the process of heart pumping the ventricles normally stiffens and relax. As the left ventricle is unable to relax in this condition the blood is not pumped properly.
The left side of the heart is what gets affected first and if it is left undiagnosed and untreated then the problem spreads to the left side of the heart.
Diagnosis of CHF
The doctor goes through the medical history of the patient and will examine if there have been any previous issues like hypertension, diabetes, thyroid, chest pain or heart attack. The doctor also takes into consideration any prior surgery of the patient. After this, the doctor conducts a physical examination in which the doctor with the help of a stethoscope makes sure that there are no abnormal sounds in the chest. Physical examination also includes the doctor looking for any signs of congestion or any build-up of fluid in the abdominal area. Also, the doctor thoroughly examines the veins. Several tests are conducted once the medical examination is completed by the doctor. Mentioned below is the list of tests:
1. Myocardial biopsy – This test is performed to check any disorder related to the muscles of the heart.
2. Angiography – This test detects any kind of blockages in the heart.
3. Treadmill Test – In this test, wires are attached to the chest of the patient and they are asked to walk on the treadmill. This test examines the stress levels of the patients as the wires are connected to a machine which shows the heart and lung activity of the patient while exertion.
4. Blood Tests – These are performed to detect any disease which may cause any heart-related issue.
5. Chest X-ray – Through a chest X-ray the doctor examines if there is any accumulation of abnormal fluids around the heart and lungs area.
6. CT scan – This test allows to detect any abnormality in the organs of the patient.
7. ECG – Thorough ECG electric activity of the heart is recorded.
- The treatment of CHF involves the use of ACE inhibitors to open up the narrowed blood vessels.
- To reduce the blood pressure beta blockers are used.
- To reduce the fluid content of the body diuretics are advised as excessive fluid results in the excretion of large amounts of fluid from the body.
- The surgical aspect entails Angioplasty in which stents are placed to open the blockage of the arteries in the heart.
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