Recognizing the Signs of Congestive Heart Failure

Nearly 6.5 million people in the United States are living with heart failure and about one in five people will be diagnosed with the serious condition. The good news is that when it’s caught in its earlier stages, there’s much we can do to manage and even reverse the problem, which is why recognizing the signs of heart failure is so important.

At Humble Cardiology Associates, Dr. Madaiah Revana, and our team believe that patient education is one of the keys to safeguarding your cardiovascular health. And when it comes to congestive heart failure, knowledge is critical in helping you take the necessary steps to avoid a life-threatening outcome.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the major warning signs of heart failure and what steps you should take.

Congestive heart failure 101

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a progressive condition in which your heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood throughout your body to support your organs. 

Your heart is made up of four chambers — two atria on the upper half and two ventricles on the lower. Your right atrium receives oxygen-depleted blood and pumps it to your right ventricle, which sends the blood into your lungs to exchange carbon dioxide and pick up oxygen. This blood is then delivered into your left atrium where it’s pumped to your left ventricle to be circulated throughout your body.

With CHF, your ventricles are unable to pump out enough blood to your body to sustain optimal function, and fluids can build up in your:

In most cases, the problem starts in your left ventricle and then travels to your right ventricle if the condition goes untreated.

Know the signs of congestive heart failure

We can’t stress enough the importance of intervening quickly when it comes to congestive heart failure, so we urge you to be on the lookout for the early signs, which include:

As heart failure progresses, you may begin to notice:

All of these symptoms will likely get progressively worse. For example, the shortness of breath that you feel during exercise becomes more constant, even when you’re at rest.

In the most severe stages of heart failure, you may experience:

Of course, our goal is to have you come in to see us at the first signs of a problem as there’s much we can do to stop the progression of heart failure.

Treating heart failure

Since heart failure is progressive, our treatment depends upon the stage of your heart failure. In its earliest stages, we will likely turn to medications that encourage the flow of blood in your body and regulate your heart rate.

While we can provide you with many effective medications that help you manage heart failure, you can also do your part by making some changes to your lifestyle, such as:

Rest assured, if we diagnose you with congestive heart failure, we design a customized treatment plan that will give you the best chances for success.

If you suspect you may have congestive heart failure, or you’d like to know more about the condition, please contact one of our two offices in Humble or Houston, Texas, to set up a consultation.

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