In the end stages of congestive heart failure, even the tiniest effort becomes impossible for the patient to perform by himself. Extreme fatigue, accompanied by weakness and shortness of breath, can be devastating to the patient, who will likely be bedridden by this time. The skin may turn blue from lack of oxygen, and abnormal or extra heart beats are common. As the heart grows weaker, it will fail to pump blood to a greater degree than before. Congestive heart failure is typically the heart's last stand after years of heart disease progression. The disease is often initiated by a sudden heart attack.
The patient's blood pressure rises, and he retains fluid and salt, which causes the extremities to swell. Often the skin is so stretched by this fluid retention that pressing on the surface will leave an indentation that does not immediately return to normal. This is one of the outward symptoms of congestive heart failure. The patient will have a persistent hacking cough that gets worse while lying down. Dizzy spells, fainting and feelings of weakness are common signs of heart failure as well.
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The Heart Grows Bigger to Pump More Blood
If the heart fails to push at least 50 per cent of the blood that has filled it back out of the heart again, the extra fluids will back up inside the heart and lungs, creating a massive congestion that makes it difficult for the patient to breathe. This also causes the heart to work harder to achieve less blood oxygenation. The result of the heart overworking itself is that the muscular walls of the organ grow larger, expanding the heart's pumping capacity. Unfortunately, this is only a temporary fix, and the heart's enlargement causes it to grow weaker with the passage of time. In the end stages of the disease, the heart grows so large that it begins to crowd out the lungs and oesophagus, creating even more congestion for the patient.
Inflammations of the Digestive Organs
Poor digestion, the result of inflammations of the liver, stomach, and other organs, will cause the patient to have abdominal discomfort and nausea. This typically results in weight loss as the patient fails to eat properly, and what is eaten is not easily digested due to poor blood circulation, which causes the body to absorb nutrients improperly.
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