Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a special and serious form of heart failure. To put it simple it is a weakening of the heart caused by other underlying blood vessel or heart problem. Congestive heart failure is usually a combination of several problems at once. Those who suffer from congestive heart failure usually do not suspect that there is a problem with their heart. Shortness of breath and cough are the first signs of CHF. Patients start to feel like that they cannot get a deep breath. Asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can worsen the condition of the patient. Patients who did not suffer from breathing problems before may think that they have a flu or cold.
One of the major symptoms of congestive heart failure is the inability to perform exercise or conduct physical activity that was easy to do in the past. Human requires nutrients and oxygen when it is conducting physical activity. Someone who has a failing heart cannot rely on it to pump the sufficient amount of nutrients for the body. The patient might get tired even from walking at a small pace. Shortness of breath and fatigue towards physical activity is a clear symptom. Household chores, daily activities might feel like impossible tasks. The shortness of breath only gets better by taking rest regularly. For someone who has congestive heart failure may have difficulty breathing whenever he or she is active. In its late stages CHF can send fluids back into the lungs and obstruct oxygen from getting inside the blood. This can cause difficulty of breathing during rest and nighttime. Patients often wake up at night due to shortness of breath and need to stand up to feel normal. This is known as paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea. To feel comfortable patient sometimes needs several pillows or sleep on a recliner. Over time the buildup of fluid in the lungs can take a severe form and the patient may cough up something resembling pink fluid. This disease does not cause chest pain. If someone is suffering from chest pain, it can from myocardial infarction or angina.
Congestive heart failure is more of a syndrome than a disease. Certain lifestyle habits can bring out congestive heart failure. Smoking and too much alcohol are the general causes. Diabetes, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, lack of activity and obesity contributes towards this syndrome. If high blood pressure goes ignored for years then it can damage blood vessels and the heart. Heart muscle damage can mess up the pumping action of the heart. When it gets damaged it no longer squeezes with the force it was supposed to. Damage to the heart muscle can be because of physical damage or disease. There are cases when the occurrence of heart muscle damage cannot be identified. Sometime CHF is cause by heart valve problems. These valves jeep the blood flowing through the heart in the right direction. In any case you should consult a doctor when you notice symptoms of congestive heart failure.