What is congestive heart failure?
The heart has four chambers: two atria on the upper half and two ventricles on the lower half. The ventricles pump blood throughout your body, while the atria receives the blood that returns. Congestive heart failure occurs when the ventricles can’t pump blood efficiently throughout the body.
There are different kinds of CHF. For example, a left-sided heart failure causes fluid to back up in the lungs, while a right-sided heart failure causes fluid to back up in your legs, feet, and stomach. In general, fluid buildup is a sign of serious pumping problems.
What are symptoms of congestive heart failure?
The following symptoms may be signs of congestive heart failure:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Weight gain from fluid retention
- Lack of appetite and nausea
If you have symptoms like these, go see Dr. Rafiq right away.
How is congestive heart failure diagnosed?
Dr. Rafiq will ask you questions about your symptoms and then perform a physical exam. He may order blood tests to see if there are signs of disease.
Then he may schedule a number of other diagnostic tests. These include a chest X-ray to check out the condition of your heart and lungs, an electrocardiogram to look for heart rhythm problems and damage to your heart, and an echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to take a picture of your heart. Together, these tests allow Dr. Rafiq to make an accurate diagnosis.
How is congestive heart failure treated?
There are different kinds of medications available to treat congestive heart failure. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors help lessen the burden placed on the heart. Beta blockers can slow your heart rate and reverse some of the damage. They may also lower the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, which can be life-threatening. Diuretics can keep the fluid buildup at bay.
Congestive heart failure is a chronic condition, but it is treatable. Dr. Rafiq and his team work closely with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. Call or schedule an appointment online as soon as you can.