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Congestive Heart Failure: 4 Stages To Know

Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the patient’s heart is not able to hold the volume of the blood. Heart failure is a long-term disease, in this situation, your heart is not able to pump the blood properly. So that the body will not get sufficient blood whenever needed by the body. 

Do you know how much blood is pumped by the heart? The heart is able to pump five litres of blood in a minute.

Congestive heart failure is triggered by the functional and structural abnormalities of the heart. There are several diseases that will cause heart diseases like coronary artery disease, coronary artery blockage, heart valve disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, myocarditis, valvular heart disease, and high blood pressure.

This disease has a very high mortality rate and morbidity rate. Many people worldwide are developing heart failure symptoms. This disease is becoming very common nowadays. In this disease, heart muscles are also not able to work well.

There are various heart diseases that can lead to heart failure. There are several different types of heart failure. This heart failure may lead to a heart attack. There are various risk factors that we have to take care of.

The symptoms of heart failure are abnormal heart rhythms, chest pain, heart valve problems, shortness of breath, swelling in the ankles, and fatigue.

There is a usual treatment plan for congestive heart failure like medications like intravenous inotropic drugs and a proper diet and exercise plan for this disease.

1. Heart Failure

The function of the heart is to supply blood but the heart is not able to perform that function well. But, heart failure refers to when the heart is not working properly and efficiently as it used to in normal conditions.

Congestive Heart Failure
By Isabella Mariana on Pexels

The heart is not able to pump the proper amount of heat needed by the body which increases the pressure on the heart. The problem is in the heart’s main pumping chamber. In this case, the chamber of the heart stretches and tries to hold more blood to pump it so that the need of the body is completed.

The condition in which the heart is not able to pump the blood properly will damage your other organs like kidneys, and lungs because the fluid is collected in the lungs which will damage your lungs. These diseases are caused due to lifestyle changes as well.

2. Types Of Heart Failure

There are different types of heart failure having different causes, symptoms, and treatments:

2.1. Left-Sided Heart Failure

Heart failure caused due to the left ventricle. This ventricle is not able to perform its function well. In this type of heart failure, the lower chamber of this ventricle will expand itself and at the time of contraction, it is not able to contract itself properly.

So the heart is not able to pump a sufficient amount of oxygen-rich blood to the body. And sometimes the left ventricle is performing its function well but the problem that occurs is that the ventricle is not able to relax properly. It is due to systolic left ventricular dysfunction. Systolic heart failure is also caused by this type of heart failure.

Congestive Heart Failure
By Arianna Jade on Pexels

As the ventricles become thicker and stiffer in comparison to normal. So it will hold less amount of blood and the heart will pump less amount of blood and the body is able to fulfil its needs from that blood. The heart muscle is also not able to perform its function well.

2.2. Right-Sided Heart Failure

Heart failure caused due to the right side is known as right-sided heart failure. Here, the left side will perform its function well but the right side of the heart is not able to expand and contract properly so the heart is not able to pump blood properly. It is diastolic heart failure.

2.3. Congestive Heart Failure

It is a condition in the body where the heart is not able to hold blood properly. Due to this the blood and other fluids are collected in different organs of the body like the lungs, and feet.

Congestive Heart Failure
By Yasser Hernandez on Pexels

The heart muscle is also not able to perform its function well. So congestive heart failure is a chronic heart failure. Congestive heart failure has four main stages.

There are various complications that are seen during congestive heart failure such as fatigue, irregular heartbeat, pulmonary hypertension, malnutrition, and kidney and liver damage. If the person is showing such symptoms then it may be a suspected heart failure.

3. Stages Of Congestive Heart Failure

The function of blood is to pump blood but when the blood is not able to do it properly then the disease is caused. Congestive heart failure has four main stages. These stages start from the risk of developing heart failure and reach advanced heart failure.

Heart failure is a chronic disease that will increase the symptoms and problems in your body with time. The four stages of heart failure are Stage A (considered a pre-heart failure), Stage B, Stage C, and Stage D(which show advanced symptoms).

3.1. Stage A

It is a condition of pre-heart failure. At this time the patient is developing heart failure disease. It may be due to family history or some medical conditions. It may also be due to some lifestyle changes.

3.1.1 Symptoms of Stage A

There are various symptoms that people ignore at the start of the disease. The symptoms are listed below:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fast heartbeats

  • Dry cough

  • Fatigue

  • High blood pressure

  • Nausea

  • Loss of appetite

3.1.2 Diagnosis Of Stage A

There are several tests for heart failure. when you visit a doctor with such symptoms he will ask you for any family history of the disease to know whether it is a congenital heart disease or not.

The symptoms are the physical exam of the disease. Then he will refer some tests for you like a stress test, blood test, chest x-ray, and BNP blood test.

3.1.3 Treatment Of Stage A

It is very important to maintain heart health. There is a proper treatment plan for stage A congestive heart failure. There are many treatment options for this stage.

The treatment is done to maintain proper blood flow. Congestive heart failure patients are needed to do proper and regular exercise as recommended by the doctor.

The medications for high blood pressure are prescribed. Take a low-sodium diet. Stop the intake of tobacco and alcohol. Beta-blockers are also recommended if the blood pressure is very high.

The angiotensin ii receptor blocker is recommended at the time of coronary artery disease, coronary heart disease, or some other vascular and cardiac conditions. You can also use ventricular assist devices for the betterment of heart health.

3.2. Stage B

It is the second stage of developing congestive heart failure. Most heart failure patients of stage B have echocardiograms and they show an ejection fraction of less than 40%.

Ejection fraction is the method to find whether the disease is severe or not. The patient’s ejection fraction tells about the severity of the symptoms of heart failure. It may cause systolic heart failure.

3.2.1 Symptoms of Stage B

The various symptoms of heart failure in stage B are listed below:

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol level

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Obesity

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

3.2.2 Diagnosis Of Stage B

The diagnosis will be done by several tests but first, the diagnosis of systolic left ventricular dysfunction is done. Then the severity of symptoms is measured by the ejection fraction. The other tests are Magnetic resonance imaging and electrocardiogram.

3.2.3 Treatment Of Stage B

The various treatment options for stage B are beta-blockers and aldosterone antagonists if the patient is having a heart attack or if he has an ejection fraction of less than 40%.

Angiotensin ii receptor blocker and the angiotensin convertase enzyme inhibitor are also provided to the patient during stage B congestive heart failure. The ventricular assist device is also used to maintain the

Heart surgery and interventions are also possible treatment plans provided during coronary artery disease and blockage in the coronary artery, valve disease.

3.3. Stage C

This is the third stage of developing congestive heart failure. There are various risk factors that cause stage C congestive heart failure.

At stage C the patient will show the symptoms of structural heart disease which shows that the patient has problems in the pumping chamber of the heart or in the left ventricle.

Patients with stage C will give rise to a heart attack or cardiac attack. The heart muscle is also not able to perform its function well. There are several risk factors in which the patient will also develop thyroid disease

3.3.1 Symptoms Of Stage C

Stage C has the following symptoms :

  • Weak and swollen legs

  • Swollen ankles and abdomen

  • Physically weak

  • High blood pressure

  • Shortness of breath

  • Lung disease

  • Urination during night

  • Palpitations

3.3.2 Diagnosis Of Stage C

The severe symptoms of stage C are diagnosed by some tests like cardiac catheterization, chest x-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), stress test, and echocardiogram.

3.3.3 Treatment Of Stage C

The usual treatment plan for stage C heart failure patients is to use an implantable cardiac defibrillator for maintaining the palpitations. Take proper fluid buildup.

Take possible cardiac resynchronization therapy. Include the diuretic pills in the medication only after the prescription of the doctor. A healthy lifestyle is followed by the patients.

3.4. Stage D

This stage is the final stage of heart failure. It shows persistent and advanced symptoms. The heart muscle gets weaker in this stage. It may lead to structural heart disease and heart attack.

3.4.1 Symptoms Of Stage D

The Stage D heart failure symptoms are as follows:

  • High blood pressure

  • Arrhythmia

  • The kidney is not able to hold salt and water

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Atrial fibrillation

  • Fluid buildup in the legs and ankles.

  • Weaker lungs cause problems with respiration

3.4.2 Diagnosis Of Stage D

The final stage of heart failure is diagnosed by some tests like a Multi-Gated Acquisition Scan (MUGA scan), electrocardiogram, chest x-ray, cardiac catheterization, echocardiogram, and magnetic resonance technique (MRI).

3.4.3 Treatment Of Stage D

The final stage of heart failure is treated by the ventricular assist devices which are used to maintain the proper heartbeat. The patient needs hospice care. There are many therapies that are used to treat this disease.

Heart transplants and cardiac transplants are also used to treat stage D heart failure. Continuous infusion of intravenous inotropic drugs.

4. Prevention Measure Of Congestive Heart Failure

There are many prevention measures for congestive heart failure. These are listed below:

  • You have to do proper exercise regularly.

  • Accept healthy lifestyle changes.

  • Eat a balanced diet.

  • Stop having tobacco and drinking alcohol.

  • Take a proper fluid intake.

  • Take care of the high-risk factors which will cause diseases.

Congestive Heart Failure
By Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

5. New York Heart Association

This association will state the various ways of heart failure and the things which will cause heart failure and related heart disease. This association classifies the stages of heart failure into four classes. These are class I, class II, class III, and class IV. These are classified on the basis of symptoms.

5.1. Class I

It will not show any symptoms. The patient will only feel some difficulty in breathing while performing the physical activities.

5.2. Class II

Only mild symptoms are observed in patients. They are not able to do physical activities well. They face difficulty in doing ordinary activities.

5.3. Class III

In this class, the patient only needs to rest. They are only comfortable doing rest. They feel many limitations in performing everyday tasks.

5.4. Class IV

In this class, the patient will feel the severe symptoms. They even don’t feel comfortable in a resting position. There are mostly bed-bound patients in this class.

Congestive Heart Failure
By Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

6. Final Note

There is a various heart-related disease which is spreading rapidly nowadays. Heart failure is also very common among those diseases. There are different types of heart failure like left-sided, right-sided heart failure, and congestive heart failure.

In congestive heart failure, the heart is not able to pump the proper amount of blood needed by the body. The heart muscle got weakened by this disease. Congestive heart failure has four main stages.

There are various high-risk factors that will cause heart failure. There are several diagnosis methodologies like MRI, echocardiogram, stress test, blood test, and electrocardiography. There are different treatment methods for different stages of congestive heart failure. There are various preventive measures that will help you reduce the risk of these diseases.

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7. Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What Is the Main Cause of Congestive Heart Failure?

The most common cause of congestive heart failure is coronary artery disease. Risk factors for coronary artery disease include high levels of cholesterol and/or triglycerides in the blood.

Q2. What Are the Four Signs of Congestive Heart Failure?

Shortness of breath during activity or when lying down. Fatigue and weakness swelling of legs, ankles and feet. Fast or irregular heartbeat.

Q3. Can Congestive Heart Failure Be Cured?

There is no cure for heart failure. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms and slowing further damage.


  • Priyanshi Sharma

    Priyanshi is a Biotechnologist with expertise in microbiology, food technology, and psychology. While she loves spending time in the laboratory, she wants to write about it too. Her expertise in the medical domain spans several years, and as a writer, she manages to craft words that make intrepid medical and health related content seem appealing for a general audience. Expertise: Biotechnologist, and degree in psychology.

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