Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Overview (cont.)
Daniel Lee Kulick, MD, FACC, FSCAI
Dr. Kulick received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. He performed his residency in internal medicine at the Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center and a fellowship in the section of cardiology at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology.
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Congestive heart failure facts
- What is congestive heart failure (CHF)?
- What causes congestive heart failure?
- What are the signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure?
- What are the risk factors for congestive heart failure?
- How is congestive heart failure diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for congestive heart failure?
- What lifestyle changes can help treat congestive heart failure?
- Fluid regulation
- Maintaining weight
- What is the long term prognosis for patients with congestive heart failure?
- Can congestive heart failure be prevented?
- Find a local Cardiologist in your town
What are the risk factors for congestive heart failure?
Congestive heart failure is often a consequence of atherosclerotic heart disease and therefore the risk factors are the same: poorly controlled high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and family history. Heart valve disease becomes a risk factor as the patient ages.
Other causes of heart failure have their own set of risk factors and predispositions and it becomes a complication of those diseases. Such causes may include obstructive sleep apnea, alcohol and drug abuse, infections, and connective tissue disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis, and amyloidosis.
Many patients have stable congestive heart failure but can decompensate when a change occurs to their body. For example, a patient with congestive heart failure may be doing well but then develops pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, or suffers a heart attack. The patient's heart may not be able to react to the body's changing environment and does not have the capability or reserve to meet the body's energy needs. As well, acute decompensation may occur if the patient drinks excess fluid, has a large intake of salt that can retain water in the body, or forgets to take their routine medication.
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