“Heart failure” on its own without context just sounds dire. And while it’s obviously serious, there is a lot more to know about it. For example, there are various stages of congestive heart failure, and they mean different things in terms of treatment and outlook.
To help clear up any misconceptions from this scary-sounding medical term, let’s take a closer look at what congestive heart failure is, its main symptoms, and what to expect if a doctor has diagnosed you. We’ll also give you some tips on how to manage it to maximize your quality of life…
What Is Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)?
According to Hopkins Medicine, congestive heart failure is a “serious condition” affecting more than 5 million Americans. It refers to the heart’s inability to pump blood efficiently. But it notes that although the term uses the word “failure,” it’s not to be confused with a sudden malfunction that threatens your life.
It means that blood is returned to the heart faster than the heart can pump it out, leading to the “congested” part. The reason for this is that the muscle of the heart is not able to contract properly or has some kind of mechanical issue. The amount of blood that fills that heart becomes more limited, which is a problem when it comes to meeting the demand for oxygen to other body parts.