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Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show as many as five million people are diagnosed with congestive heart failure in the United States each year. Congestive heart failure(CHF) is a condition in which the heart is unable to supply the needed amount of blood to the body. This is a condition that becomes progressively worse over time. Individuals with damaged heart valves, a history of heart attacks or chronic high blood pressure are most at risk for developing CHF. Towards the final stages, feelings of fatigue and shortness of breath increase to the point where a person becomes unable to carry out daily routine tasks. The stages of heart failure are categorised into four classes; advanced congestive heart failure is a class IV condition. The severity of symptoms at this stage makes for a dire prognosis.
Congestive heart failure develops in stages that reflect the amount of damage that's present. The final stages of congestive heart failure show a dramatic decline in the heart's ability to function. Body processes begin to shut down due to the heart's inability to provide adequate supplies of oxygen-rich blood. Degenerative effects had on the kidney's ability to function means a person will become unable to eliminate fluids. Continued strain on the heart can cause an irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, which accounts for 50 per cent of the deaths that result from CHF, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arrhythmias are most likely in those who've experienced past heart damage, either from a heart attack, high blood pressure or a viral infection.
The heart's inability to circulate blood leads to the resulting fluid build-up throughout the body. Towards the final stages, the heart's weakened condition results in a lowered blood pressure, which accounts for the fluid build-up that occurs in the body's extremities, as well as in the abdominal and chest areas. The increasing shortness of breath is a result of fluid build-up on the lungs. By the final stage, breathing is difficult even when the body is at rest. Individuals will have a persistent cough that produces mucous or even blood. Eventually fluid builds up in the lungs to the point where a person has to sleep sitting up in order to be able to breathe. In worst-case scenarios, breathing difficulties lead to coma, from which there is little chance of recovery.
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