Risk Factors for Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic condition in which the heart does not pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. A number of factors can increase your risk of congestive heart failure, including:

  • Cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) 
  • Coronary artery disease (restricted blood flow due to the narrowing of major blood vessels)
  • Heart attack
  • Medical conditions that place excess stress on the heart, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and thyroid disorders

At Garnet Health, our highly skilled and experienced team of cardiovascular specialists and support professionals have the expertise to accurately diagnose and effectively treat congestive heart failure. The Peter Frommer, MD Heart Center at Garnet Health Medical Center in Middletown and the Heart Care Center at Garnet Health Medical Center - Catskills in Harris have been nationally recognized for excellence.

There are two main types of congestive heart failure. Diastolic CHF occurs when the heart muscle becomes too stiff and thick to fill with blood properly. Systolic CHF occurs when the heart muscle is stretched too thin, so it does not pump blood as forcefully as it should.

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure does not always cause symptoms, especially in the early stages. When symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Dry cough or wheezing
  • Fatigue, dizziness and weakness
  • Shortness of breath due to fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Water retention (swelling or edema) in the arms and legs, lungs and other organs

Stages of Congestive Heart Failure

CHF can progress through four stages:

  • Stage A (high risk for heart failure)
  • Stage B (signs of disease but no symptoms) 
  • Stage C (signs of disease with symptoms) 
  • Stage D (refractory, or resistance to treatment)

At each stage, the goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and prevent them from worsening — to give you the best possible quality of health. 

Diagnosing Congestive Heart Failure

To accurately diagnose your type and stage of congestive heart failure, doctors at Garnet Health use advanced cardiac diagnostic testing technologies and techniques, such as: 

  • Echocardiograms, which construct an image of the heart and its functionality through the use of sound waves
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), to detect any problems that can be seen from electrical signals that control your heartbeat
  • Electrophysiology studies that measure your heart’s electrical activity
  • Cardiac event recorders, such as Holter monitors or transtelephonic monitors, that collect vital data for your doctor to review
  • Stress tests to analyze how your heart beats when your body is exercising or active.

Treatment for Congestive Heart Failure

The most appropriate treatment for congestive heart failure depends on the type and stage. Options may include: 

  • Dietary changes such as reducing salt intake and limiting fluids
  • Medications 
  • Devices that control heart rhythm, such as implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs)
  • Vascular surgery

Expert Heart Failure Care Near You

As the heart care leader in Orange and Sullivan counties, Garnet Health and its cardiovascular specialists offer state-of-the-art diagnostic technologies, as well as surgical and nonsurgical interventions for congestive heart failure.  To find a primary care doctor or to learn more about your treatment options for congestive heart failure, call 845-333-7575.

Garnet Health offers the latest cardiac diagnostic testing and treatment options for congestive heart failure in Orange and Sullivan counties, with convenient locations in Middletown and Harris, NY.

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