Medically Reviewed by Alan M. Blaker, MD
As part of an annual survey by the American Heart Association, people were asked if they knew what is Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) was.
Nearly 60% of those surveyed mistakenly thought it was when your heart suddenly stopped beating.
Incorrect. That’s a heart attack.
“Even though 1 in 5 Americans will develop congestive heart failure during their life, it is still very misunderstood,” says McLeod Cardiologist Alan Blaker, MD. “Heart attacks are sudden, painful and can be fatal. Atrial fibrillation causes the heart flutter, something you can feel. But CHF can build slowly and be mistaken for nothing more than the signs of aging.”
CHF is caused when the heart muscle can’t pump vigorously enough to move the blood through the body or becomes too stiff with the same result. It can be triggered by a heart attack, chronic high blood pressure or some other problem that damages the heart muscle.
Nearly half those surveyed said that CHF was a “silent killer” with no symptoms. Not so.
To help you spot potential CHF in yourself and others, here are symptoms to look for:
Much of the work in controlling Congestive Heart Failure is your responsibility. It’s up to you to closely follow your physician’s advice for:
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
If you or someone in your family has more than one of these symptoms, it’s time to see a cardiologist.
Although there is no cure for Congestive Heart Failure, the sooner it’s spotted and treatment begins, the better the chances for an improved quality of life and longer life, as well.
You may also find this article helpful:
Congestive Heart Failure. What is it? What can we do?
Sources include: McLeod Health, American Heart Association, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality