So, your doctor just about gave you heart failure as he delivered a diagnosis of congestive heart failure, or CHF. Now, you’re wondering what living with CHF means.
How is it treated? Does it mean I’m going to have a heart attack? What about my quality of life? Will I die from congestive heart failure? What lifestyle changes do I need to make?
There isn’t enough room in this article to answer every question about living with congestive heart failure. But, if you need general information and an overview of congestive heart failure, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, you’ll find information about congestive heart failure, its symptoms, treatments, and what you can expect to encounter when living with congestive heart failure.
What is congestive heart failure?
My least favorite thing in the world is car trouble. Nothing heats my blood like being stranded by the side of the road with the hood of my car up clearly signaling my distress.
Our heart functions much like an auto engine, only instead of circulating gasoline, it’s the mechanism used to pump blood to the rest of the body. Just as an auto doesn’t run properly if it doesn’t get enough fuel, your body won’t function properly if the heart doesn’t do its job and deliver blood and oxygen.
In simplest terms, congestive heart failure means that the heart has failed to do its job properly and adequate supplies of blood are not being delivered to vital organs.
Systolic and Diastolic Heart Failure
There are two types of congestive heart failure: systolic and diastolic. The two forms differ in the way that they prevent the heart from doing its job. In systolic heart failure, the left ventricle doesn’t contract with enough force to adequately pump the blood out of the heart chambers.
On the other hand, in diastolic heart failure the heart muscles themselves have become very stiff and inflexible preventing them from filling up with enough blood. Diastolic heart failure is sometimes referred to as heart failure with normal ejection fraction.