Congestive Heart Failure:
400,000 New Cases Every Year

Congestive Heart Failure Statistics

The 400,000 new cases of congestive heart failure every year mentioned above… that is in the U.S. alone. In fact it has been estimated that nearly five million people in the United States currently have congestive heart failure (CHF). And that number could continue to rise.

By the time we are 65 years old we are more likely to be hospitalized for CHF than for any other reason.

To me that is frightening. But it gets worse. Some estimates suggest that…

  • 20% of patients diagnosed with CHF will die within one year
  • 50% of patients diagnosed with CHF will die within five years

Are we in an epidemic of heart failure?

Why the frightening statistics?

So we will take CHF seriously.

One reason CHF is on the increase is simply because the U.S. population is aging. There are more and more people who are getting older. But there is a ray of hope. There are some indications that the percentage of people suffering from congestive heart failure could decrease.

For more on CHF survival please click here.

By the way… Do you have your own story to tell about congestive heart failure or any heart health issue? Have you learned something in your reading that you would like to share? If so you can have your own webpage right here on this site.

It is easy and fun. Click here to add your story.

Here’s a question for you…

Are you sick and tired of just not feeling great?

Are there health issues – in addition to your heart health – that concern you? Like…

Anxiety? Or not sleeping well? Or joint pain? Or low energy? Or poor digestion? Or weight gain? Or stress? Why do so many people suffer from these symptoms and others? Those nagging health issues that seem so difficult to define.

Did you know that these health problems – as well as more serious chronic diseases – can be the result of …

  • Your body holding on to too many toxins?
  • And chronic inflammation?
  • And pH and blood sugar imbalance?
  • And your elimination organs not working well?
  • And poor nutrition?
  •  And foods that stress your system?

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What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure is not a simple diagnosis. Rather it is a condition where the heart is unable to fill with blood or pump enough blood to the rest of the body. It does not come upon a person suddenly like a heart attack. It results over time because of one or more underlying factors.

Generally speaking CHF is the physiological result of damage to the heart caused by some underlying condition. The result is an enlarged heart or a heart that is unable to pump effectively enough to supply the body with necessary oxygen. The heart keeps pumping, sometimes overworking itself, while other major organs, and often the heart itself, suffer blood deprivation.

Because CHF is the result of other underlying problems, treatments must be evaluated based on the underlying cause of the disease.

That is to say… we do not always treat CHF directly. Rather we try to identify the underlying causes and treat those. For that reason it is imperative for us to maintain good heart health habits. By taking care of ourselves it is often possible to prevent the conditions that cause CHF.

There are several ways to classify CHF. Two of the most popular are as follows:

The type of CHF a person has can be classified by the side of the heart that is affected. Therefore someone may be said to have left heart failure or right heart failure.

Another way of classifying CHF is determined by whether the weakness involves the contraction or relaxation of the heart. If the heart does not contract well the condition is called systolic heart failure. If the heart does not relax well one is said to have diastolic heart failure.

The Basics of CHF

The heart consists of four chambers. The first is the right atrium. It is the thin-walled chamber that pumps blood into the right ventricle. The right ventricle is a muscular chamber that pumps blood through the pulmonary artery into the lungs.

The left atrium and the left ventricle have a similar relationship, except the left ventricle pumps blood through the aorta to the rest of the body.

When the heart is in its resting phase the tricuspid (having three cusps or points) and mitral (having two cusps) valves open allowing some of the blood in the atria to flow passively into the ventricles. Then the atria contract forcing the rest of the blood into the ventricles. When the ventricles become full they in turn contract, forcing the tricuspid and mitral valves shut, thereby pushing the blood to the lungs and the rest of the body.

Sometimes the left ventricle becomes weak and cannot adequately push the blood along. At times the valves don’t seal properly or become narrowed allowing blood to flow backwards.

Either event can allow fluid to fill the lungs causing difficulty in breathing while hindering oxygen transfer into the bloodstream.

The result is a feeling of fatigue.

Malfunctioning of the right ventricle can cause a rise in blood vessel pressure. The result is an increase of fluid being forced from the blood vessels into body tissues causing swelling in the abdomen, legs and feet.

What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?

This really is the important issue. If the underlying conditions causing CHF are treatable then the overall condition can be improved. It also follows…

If the underlying causes of CHF can be prevented then CHF can also be prevented.

As you might guess there are numerous factors that can cause or influence congestive heart failure. Here are a few examples…

  • Genetic factors
  • Ischemic heart disease (reduced blood supply to the heart)
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Anemia (red blood cell deficiency)
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid hormone production)
  • Hypothyroidism (insufficient production of thyroid hormone)
  • Infections
  • Cardiomyopathy (deterioration of heart muscle function)
  • Mitral valve disease (affects valve between left atrium and right ventricle)
  • Cardiac fibrosis (abnormal thickening of the heart valves)
  • Coartation of the aorta (narrowing of the aorta)
  • Aortic stenosis (incomplete opening of the aortic valve)
  • Pulmonary hypertension (increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary artery)
  • Pulmonary embolism (blockage of the pulmonary artery)

In many cases CHF is caused or influenced by things under our control. In other cases the primary underlying cause may be genetic and beyond our control. However, even in such cases as these…

We can control many of the secondary influences that can make CHF deadly.

For instance we have some control over…

CHF Symptoms

Unfortunately CHF symptoms are not always clear. That is why it is imperative to let your doctor diagnose the problem.

However there are some classic signs to look for. For left heart failure you may experience…

  • Shortness of breath when exerting yourself
  • Shortness of breath when lying down
  • Fatigue
  • Nighttime cough
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Inconsistent heart beat
  • Crackled breathing

For right heart failure you might experience…

  • Leg swelling
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Nocturi (frequent nighttime urination)
  • Nosebleeds
  • Enlarged liver

It is clear from these symptoms why it is important to have your doctor diagnose your condition. Many of these symptoms can be caused from a number of other conditions not related to congestive heart failure.

Click here for more detail on symptoms of left heart failure and right heart failure.

Proper diagnosis requires a physical exam and detailed medical history taking. Self-diagnosis is not a good idea. When symptoms indicate that a patient may have CHF a physical exam will include…

  • A chest film (most common x-ray)
  • An electrocardiogram (recording of the electrical activity of the heart which detects and records the electrical potential of the heart during contraction).
  • Left ventricular ejection fraction (measure of ventricular contractility) will also be tested.
  • In addition to these tests a general search for causative factors will be undertaken.

Conventional Treatments For CHF

As mentioned above, treatments for CHF can vary depending on the underlying causes. But regardless of the underlying causes certain treatments have been shown to benefit most CHF sufferers. For example ACE inhibitor therapy is recommended for all patients with systolic heart failure regardless of underlying cause or actual blood pressure. ACE inhibitors…

  • improve symptoms
  • decrease mortality
  • reduce ventricular hypertrophy

Other drugs your doctor might prescribe include…

  • Digitalis medicines
  • Diuretics
  • Nitrates
  • Beta blockers
  • Positive inotropes

Click here for more on Conventional CHF Treatments.

Natural Treatments For CHF

There are several things we can do to help prevent and minimize the effects of congestive heart failure. Of course diet and exercise are very important. Also any dietary supplements that help prevent the underlying conditions are also essential.

Don’t underestimate the value of natural elements in the fight against CHF. For example…

There have been numerous studies on CoQ10 supplementation and CHF.

CoQ10 is essential to the production of cellular energy which in turn is essential to proper functioning of heart cells.

Many trials have been conducted to study CoQ10 as a treatment for congestive heart failure.

For more on CoQ10 And CHF please click here.

Other natural elements believed to help minimize the effects of CHF are…

  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Omega-3
  • Antioxidants

You can read more on natural treatments for congestive heart failure by clicking here.

Again, don’t underestimate your part in preventing and minimizing the effects of CHF. Watch your diet, get exercise, and take supplements that can bolster your general heart health.

If you…

  • Are overweight
  • Are not getting enough exercise
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Are not taking CoQ10 supplements
  • Aren’t getting plenty of antioxidants

Then change it.

Medical history and diagnosis of CHF.

More on CHF Reversal.

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