Congestive Heart Failure: Causes & Signs

Symptoms such as shortness of breath could also be signs of congestive heart failure causes.

Do you ever find yourself unexpectedly out of breath when performing everyday activities? Have that your ankles look particularly swollen? These are common signs of congestive heart failure, a condition that often impacts older adults but can affect people of all ages. It is important to be aware of the causes and telltale signs of this potentially life-threatening illness in order to protect your health. But it can also be difficult navigating the sometimes overwhelming amount of information online. That’s why Cardiovascular Institute of the South is ready to help demystify congestive heart failure causes and the signs associated with the condition. Learn more about what to look out for and what steps you can take to better protect yourself against this chronic cardiovascular condition.

What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a serious condition that affects millions of people worldwide. CHF occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. This causes fluid to build up in the lungs, feet, and other parts of the body, which puts one’s health at risk. There are many treatments available, including medications and lifestyle changes, that can help CHF patients manage symptoms and improve their quality of life. This is why it is important to quickly seek help from a healthcare provider if you think you may be experiencing symptoms of CHF.

Congestive Heart Failure Causes

You may be familiar with the types and stages of congestive heart failure, but do you know about its common causes? There are many different factors that can contribute to this condition, some of which are preventable while others are not. Some of the most common causes of CHF include high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and diabetes. 

Certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking and consuming a diet high in saturated and trans fats, can also increase the risk of developing CHF. While there are many potential causes of this condition, understanding them is the first step to prevention and effective treatment. Potential congestive heart failure causes can include the following:

  • Diabetes, Types 1 and 2
  • Smoking
  • High Cholesterol Levels in the Blood
  • High Triglyceride Levels in the Blood
  • Obesity/Overweight
  • Lack of Regular Exercise
  • Diets High in Sugar, Trans Fat, and Saturated Fats
  • A High-Stress Lifestyle

These causes may occur isolated or in combination with others. While some cannot be prevented, taking steps to control those that can may help to reduce an individual’s CHF risk.

Once you have identified congestive heart failure causes, you may also notice symptoms including swollen feet and ankles.

Signs & Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is a serious medical condition that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of this condition, which can include shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and persistent cough or wheezing. If left untreated, congestive heart failure can lead to severe complications, so it’s crucial to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms. While the diagnosis may seem daunting, early detection and treatment can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Stay aware of your body’s warning signs, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you think something might be wrong.

Shortness of Breath During Normal Activities and Periods of Rest

Shortness of breath can be a concerning symptom when it arises during normal activities and periods of rest. It can make even the simplest tasks feel like a challenge to complete. While shortness of breath can be caused by a variety of factors, it typically should not occur outside of intense cardio exercise. Seeking medical attention can help to identify the underlying cause and identify whether it may be a sign of CHF.

Swelling in the Legs, Ankles, and Feet

Swelling is a signal that your body is retaining fluid. Swelling in the limbs can indicate a serious risk to your cardiovascular health that may require immediate medical attention. Don’t ignore the symptoms. Seek medical help as soon as possible to receive a diagnosis and better protect yourself.

Fatigue and Weakness

Feeling constantly tired and drained of energy can be a frustrating and debilitating experience. However, it can also be a symptom of CHF. If you are struggling with weakness and fatigue and you aren’t sure what is causing it, it’s important to seek care and a diagnosis from a physician. This is especially true when weakness or fatigue occur in conjunction with any of the other signs of CHF.

Get the Support You Need From Cardiovascular Institute of the South

CHF is an increasingly common condition, and it can affect anyone regardless of age or demographic. Knowing the causes and signs of CHF is the key to prevention and early detection. Those with high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, or cardiomyopathy should take extra precautions to ensure they monitor their heart health. In addition, those who experience shortness of breath during normal activities, swelling in the legs or feet, or unexplained fatigue or weakness should seek care as soon as possible. 

Each individual’s risk factors and health history are unique. This is why it’s important to discuss these subjects openly with your physician to address any health concerns you may have. When it comes to protecting yourself against CHF and other cardiovascular diseases, prevention is key. Schedule an appointment today at the Cardiovascular Institute of the South location nearest you to receive expert care and peace of mind. 

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CIS Staff

Written by CIS Staff