Many people assume that the term congestive heart failure indicates a complete cessation of heart function. In reality, however, congestive heart failure is simply a condition in which the heart muscle is unable to supply adequate blood flow. The degree of heart failure is different from one person to the next, but all types of congestive heart failure are serious and demand immediate medical treatment. A number of causes can lead to congestive heart failure, including a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and genetic factors.
One of the earliest indications of heart disease is fatigue that is not appropriate to a person's level of exertion. Sufferers may find that they are unable to exercise or complete routine daily tasks at their normal level of intensity. Some experience shortness of breath and edema, which is swelling of the legs. Most people are well aware of how their body is functioning, and are sensitive to changes. It is important to pay attention to the messages that the body is sending, and to seek care when something seems awry. Chest pain is another indicator of congestive heart failure and should prompt an immediate call to one's physician.
A wide range of treatment options is available to address congestive heart failure. Depending on the specific needs of each patient, a course of treatment is determined to improve heart function and reduce progression of heart disease. Medications often play a role in that process, and patients may be prescribed a combination of diuretics, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers and other drugs. In cases of advanced heart failure, surgical intervention may be necessary. One of the most powerful means of treating heart disease is educating patients on how to improve their overall health. Lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise, improving one’s diet and reducing the intake of sodium can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
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