What Is Congestive Heart Failure?

What Causes Congestive Heart Failure:
Congestive heart failure usually happens when another problem makes the heart weak. Coronary artery disease, a condition where some of the hearts blood vessels are narrowed, is a common cause of congestive heart failure. Other conditions that can lead to congestive heart failure include heart attacks, high blood pressure, heart muscle diseases, and problems with the heart's valves.

What You Can Do About It:
Congestive heart failure won't go away entirely, but you and your doctor can work together to help make your life more comfortable. Your doctor can prescribe medications to make your heart's work easier. You can make some changes in the way you eat and the way you live to give your heart some extra help. Pay attention to your body and how you feel, and tell your doctor when you're feeling better and when you're feeling worse. That way, your doctor will know what kind of treatment works best for you.

How Does Congestive Heart Failure Feel?
Here are some common symptoms of congestive heart failure. You may have several of these symptoms or only one.

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing when you exert yourself
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Problems breathing when you're lying down
  • Waking up at night coughing or short breath
  • The need to go to the bathroom many times during the night
  • Swollen ankles or feet
  • Dizzy spells