Congestive heart failure does not necessarily mean that the heart has stopped functioning, but it does mean that the heart is not pumping blood as effectively as it should be -- and normally is -- pumping the body's life-sustaining substance. This paper delves into the reasons why a person suffers from congestive heart failure, what actually happens to the heart and to the body, and the medical treatment and clinical manifestations appropriate for this condition.
Literature Review of Health Issue
According to the peer-reviewed Texas Heart Institute Journal, congestive heart failure affects "5.7 million individuals," and there are "700,000 new diagnoses" annually (Mosalpuria, 2014). After the first congestive heart failure event, Mosalpuria explains that there are often "multiple relapses" and about half of those suffering from congestive heart failure will be hospitalized within the first year after the event, and within that first year about one-third of patients will die (253).
Mosalpuria goes on the point out that as for the cost of treating patients with congestive heart failure in the United States, there is a substantial "economic burden" placed on the American healthcare system (253). The estimated cost to the healthcare system is $39.2 billion, the author explains, and more Medicare funds are utilized vis-a-vis the diagnosis and the treatment of congestive heart failure than "any other diagnosis" in the healthcare milieu (253).
Meanwhile, as to the process of the human heart and how it works, the normal action of the heart is to pump blood from the right side into the lungs to then become oxygenated. After picking up oxygen from the lungs, the blood flows into the arteries with the life-providing oxygen it has gathered from the lungs. The way it works is that a higher pressure is realized by the arteries and a lower pressure is experienced by the veins when things are working normally. But when there is congestive heart failure, the blood is not moving "…efficiently through the circulatory system" and as a result of that slow-down there is a temporary back-up of blood, and that puts increased pressure within the body's blood vessels (O'Brien, 2014).
When there is that increased pressure on the blood vessels it forces "fluid from the blood vessels into body tissues" -- and at the same time when the left side of the heart struggles to do its part that circumstance results in fluid collecting in the lungs (O'Brien). This lung congestion explains why breathing becomes problematic during an episode of congestive heart failure because when the person inhales the airways in the lungs (filling up with fluids) can't expand, which is what the lungs normally do to keep the person breathing normally (O'Brien).
Body of the Paper
Who suffers from congestive heart failure? About 1% of individuals over the age of 50 suffer from congestive heart failure and for those 75 years of age or older, 5% suffer from congestive heart failure, according to O'Brien. When a person reaches 85 years of age, the danger from congestive heart failure increases; 25% of people in that age group suffer congestive heart failure, O'Brien explains. The rate of mortality one year after suffering congestive heart failure is about ten percent, and about one-half of those who suffered from congestive heart failure die within five years.
Causes: There are a number of causes of congestive heart failure, according to Doctor Terrance O'Brien, and they include: a) weakened heart muscle and damaged heart valves; b) blood vessels that are blocked and cannot supply enough blood to the heart; c) abuse of drugs or alcohol; d) high blood pressure and infections or viruses; e) "certain genetic diseases" that involve the heart; f) "prolonged, serious arrhythmias" (O'Brien).
Candidates for heart problems: When there is a family history of heart problems, or when a person has been exposed to high doses of radiation, heart problems can result. In addition, poor choices as far as lifestyle behaviors also can contribute to a person suffering from congestive heart failure, and one important behavior that people should avoid is gaining weight to the point of being obese, O'Brien continues. Also, someone who is obese and does not exercise at all is a candidate for heart problems. Too much salt in one's diet or failing to follow a doctor's advice regarding medications can also contribute to heart issues.
Symptoms: When a person suffers from shortness of breath, or has a hard time taking a deep breath (in…