Here’s What You Need to Know About Congestive Heart Failure: An Introduction

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Story at-a-glance -

  • Congestive heart failure is a chronic or acute syndrome that affects the ability of the heart muscles to pump properly
  • Also known as heart failure, this condition manifests when there's fluid buildup around the heart, causing the heart muscles to pump inefficiently
  • The causes of congestive heart failure are often idiopathic, or unknown. However, there are triggers of that can be traced to other conditions directly affecting the cardiovascular system
  • Proper treatment can aid with improving symptoms and heart function among people with congestive heart failure

It's no secret that body function begins and ends with your heart. This organ, which is roughly the size of your fist, pumps blood throughout the body, provides oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and eliminates carbon dioxide and other waste.1 Maintaining good heart health is important, especially as you age, because the heart can be damaged throughout time, causing impaired heart function and development of diseases such as congestive heart failure.

What Is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure, also called heart failure, occurs when fluid builds up around the heart and causes the muscles surrounding it to pump inefficiently. Fluid builds up when ventricles responsible for pumping blood to the organ and tissues fail to pump back blood in adequate amounts to your body.2

Congestive heart failure can affect people of all ages. While this disease is more common among middle-aged adults and the elderly, children and young adults may be diagnosed with it too.3

Congestive Heart Failure by the Numbers

Around 5.7 million adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with heart failure,4 and roughly 550,000 new cases occur each year. Nearly 1.4 million people with congestive heart failure are under 60 years old, and in hospital patients 65 years old and above, congestive heart failure is the most common diagnosis. The incidence of congestive heart failure is equally frequent between men and women, although from a racial standpoint, African-Americans are 1.5 times more likely to develop this disease compared to Caucasians.

Congestive heart failure is a burden to your health and wallet, since an estimated $30.7 billion each year is spent on expenditures related to the disease, such as health care services, medicines and missed days of work. Furthermore, 11 million physician visits yearly are attributed to congestive heart failure, and this disease is the first-listed diagnosis in 875,000 hospitalizations, said to be more than all forms of cancer combined.

About half of people who develop congestive heart failure may die within five years of diagnosis.  Sudden death is common among people with congestive heart failure, occurring at a rate six to nine times higher than that of the general population. Congestive heart failure contributes to approximately 287,000 deaths a year.

The silver lining is death rates from congestive heart failure were said to decrease on average by 12 percent per decade for women and men over the past 50 years. However, this isn't an excuse to be lax — preventing this disease as early as possible is highly crucial.5,6

How You Can Prevent Congestive Heart Failure From Affecting You

There are many ways to address congestive heart failure, but the treatment that you will ultimately undergo may have to entail careful consideration. This is because some conventional treatment methods may result in unwanted complications.

These Congestive Heart Failure pages are a useful resource for anyone who wants to know more about this disease's symptoms, causes and stages. Plus, you'll be able to learn how you can tweak your lifestyle and diet to prevent congestive heart failure, plus treatment options  that are best for the disease.


Congestive Heart Failure: Introduction

What Is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

Congestive Heart Failure Causes

Congestive Heart Failure Stages

Congestive Heart Failure Life Expectancy

Congestive Heart Failure Treatment

Congestive Heart Failure Prevention

Congestive Heart Failure Diet

Congestive Heart Failure FAQ

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What Is Congestive Heart Failure?