Straight to the Heart - Part Four

Congestive heart failure is a condition where the heart can't pump enough blood to the body’s other organs.

When you get CHF, your heart can't fill properly or eject blood properly to meet your body's other demands. There are myriad of causes.

"Could be due to coronary disease such as blockages in multiple arteries or due to cardio myopothy, which means an infection has reached the heart. It can be due to infiltrated process.”

The failing heart does keep working, but not as efficiently as it should.

"Heart failure could affect left side or right side of the heart. If it affects left side of the heart, then blood backs up into the lungs since that's the next phase it would enter.”

If you're a couch potato it may take a little longer to realize you have a problem, but someone who is active will notice several things.

"Most patients notice they're short of breath with minimal activity. They are short of breath, they can't lie down without using multiple pillows."

Screenings by your doctor will help discover the problem, specifically echocardiogram which is an ultra sound of the heart. That will let you know if you're at risk.

Dr. Haghighat says it's a great time for people who have congestive heart failure because there is a wealth of medications that can get you up and going again. They range from ace inhibitors and diuretics that helps take the fluid off. Also, beta blockers, which can prolong survival and help strengthen the heart, make it better again.

Dr. Haghighat says you can do something to improve congestive heart failure or even prevent it. The rules are the same as any other heart condition you may have.

Eat right, exercise and don't smoke.

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