Congestive Heart Failure In The Elderly
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Congestive heart failure is common in the elderly, and occurs when the heart is not able to pump enough blood into the body. This condition is most common when the patient suffers from diseases like valve infection, myocardial infarction, inflammation of the muscles of the heart or defects in them, a hole in the heart, arteriosclerosis or coronary artery disease, hypertension or elevated blood pressure, congenital heart disease or a disease affecting the pericardium.
Another disease that is connected with congestive heart failure is hyperthyroidism, since it gets the metabolism rate up, the quantity of blood required goes up, and the additional pressure on the heart leads to congestive heart failure. Anemia too can cause this condition, since the reduced levels of oxygen in the blood stream exerts additional pressure on the heart, which has to pump blood faster than it normally does.
The symptoms of congestive heart failure can range from mild ones like a state of shock or fainting, to more serious ones like a cardiac arrest or even death. Shortness of breath, particularly while doing some physical work, fatigue, edema in the ankles and feet, respiratory problems, stomach pain, frequent urination, loss of appetite, nausea and weight gain are other symptoms of congestive heart failure.
Diagnosis for congestive heart failure begins with a detailed study of the patient’s medical record, especially if he has a history of coronary artery diseases, diabetes, alcohol abuse or hypertension. Next, the patient has to get a physical and a few lab tests done, like an X-ray of the chest and an ECG or electrocardiogram.
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