The term heart failure might sound frightening as though sudden death is imminent, however heart failure simply means the heart is unable to pump sufficient blood around the body to maintain the blood flow, keeping all the cells and organs satisfied. Since the organs have their jobs to perform, insufficient blood flow, the fuel for the cells, means the organs themselves cannot perform their normal duties, leading to issues throughout the body.
In the case of congestive heart failure, the opposite is true. The heart is pumping far more blood than necessary and the heart becomes overworked to keep up with the increased flow. Congestive heart failure can occur due to the blood or serum infusions, kidney disease, chronic severe anemia or a number of other conditions. Heart failure can lead to the build-up of fluids in the body such as the extremities and in severe cases, organs such as the lungs, liver and kidneys. This can affect the functioning of these organs leading to further complications and other symptoms associated with the failure of these organs.
Heart failure remains a common condition with 2% of adults in developed countries affected. As a person grows older, their risk of heart failure increases. Death can occur in about one third of cases in the first year of diagnosis. After which the risk factor is decreased below 10% each year.
One of the defining symptoms of congestive heart failure is the build-up of fluid in the lungs. As the heart is unable to pump efficiently, the passing through the lungs can become backed up. The pressure builds in the blood vessels, causing fluid to be pushed into the air sacs of the lungs otherwise known as pulmonary enema. This can cause shortness of breath, particularly when lying down. This can lead to problems with even something as simple as speaking a full sentence. It can also lead to the feeling of drowning as the lungs struggle to fill with air.