Congestive Heart Failure – What is It, What Are the Symptoms, and What Can Help?

By | August 23, 2017

The heart has the very tiresome but important job of providing blood to all parts of the body. From the tips of your toes to the scalp in your head, blood is being pumped nonstop. Every cell in the body receives nutrients and eliminates its waste products through the circulatory system of which the heart is the central and crucial ‘pump’.

The heart is made of four muscle chambers: the two atria and the two ventricles. The right atrium receives blood coming from the body. Blood goes down to the right ventricle where it is pumped to the lungs for oxygenation. It then goes to the left atrium. After that the left ventricle pumps the blood to the entire body. The left ventricle, having the hardest job of squeezing blood to the entire body, would be the strongest muscle of the four.

Congestive heart failure is a condition where the heart is not able to provide enough blood to the body. It can be a weakened heart due to numerous heart attacks or old age. A disease of the heart called cardiomyopathy can also cause congestive heart failure. High blood pressure and even infection in the heart can contribute to this condition. Congestive heart failure is not the heart suddenly stopping; it is just the inefficiency of the heart’s output.

Symptoms of Congestive heart failure

The symptoms of heart failure are dependent to the part or side of the heart that is weakened. Knowing how the parts of the heart work and their respective functions, it is easy to understand how failure would be affecting the body and the symptoms they would show.

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If the left side of the heart weakens then the supply of the blood being pumped to the body is decreased. The symptoms would be shown in the build up of fluid in the lungs. Fluid build up is unavoidable. This would mean shortness of breath, increased breathlessness and difficulty breathing when lying down.

Now, if the right side of the heart wanes, the fluid build up would be in the extremities. There would be swelling on the lower parts of the body especially on the upper part of the legs and eventually the abdomen. Heart failure on this side is also characterizes by pitting edema. This is where a finger print impression is left when pressed against the swollen leg.


The main treatment for congestive heart failure patients would a change in lifestyle. The diet and even water intake should be adjusted. Sodium increases the retention of fluid in the body. With this increased risk of edema, sodium should be decreased to the minimum.

Under the guidance of your physician, fluid intake may be decreased as well. Diuretics may also be given to help eliminate excess fluid in the body. And, although exercise is important, the amount of physical activity should be adjusted to the capacity of the patient’s body and be under the direction of your doctor.

There are also nutritional and herbal supplements which can help strengthen the heart and help alleviate the most worrisome symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure.

Dee Braun, a single mom of 6, is a Cert. Aromatherapist and natural health practitioner. Click now to visit Health or High Water at where you’ll find info to improve your health using nutritional supplements to battle the ravages of time, poor nutrition, & toxins.

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