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Congestive Heart Failure

Cardiovascular

Congestive heart failure (CHF) occurs when the heart loses the ability to pump blood effectively. A healthy heart will nourish the cells of the body due to its’ ability to supply the body with oxygen and essential nutrients with timely and efficient pumping. Your heart beats approximately 100,000 times per day and pushes around 2,000 gallons of blood through your vessels. With CHF, your body loses the ability to perform this function effectively. As a result, the heart will try to compensate by increasing in size and pumping strength, causing the heart muscle to weaken. This occurs because the heart is not pumping as well as it should, causing blood to accumulate and stretch. During the initial phase of stretching the heart will pump with more force and when the heart muscle is stretched beyond a certain point, weakening occurs. Lastly, the heart beats faster – because your heart cannot pump effectively with each beat, it tries to beat more to do the job. This results in an increased heart rate. The heart eventually cannot keep up with the workload and compensation fails, at which point symptoms begin to set in. Blood can back up and accumulate in one or more parts of the circulatory system, and health complications develop.

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