Congestive Heart Failure


Definition - What does Congestive Heart Failure mean?

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a pathological condition that affects the bioelectric activity of the heart muscle due to excess fluid retention clogging major arteries, blood vessels, and capillaries that are responsible for sustaining homeostatic functionality. The heart consists of four chambers including the left and right atria and the corresponding left and right ventricles working respectively through a process called systole (atrial contraction) followed by diastole (ventricular contraction) to facilitate blood flow.

WorkplaceTesting explains Congestive Heart Failure

The severity of CHF can have comorbid implications that are attributable to coronary artery disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), and heart valve blockage, exacerbating fluid buildup that can adversely influence lung tissue, the intestines, and the liver. A heart specialist, or cardiologist, will conduct a battery of tests including an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and stress test to diagnose and chart the prognosis of CHF-related cases over time following proper treatment alternatives. The physician will be able to determine the epidemiological stage of the disease where CHF falls under a Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, or Class 4 subcategory, marking its progression.

CHF carries etiological ramifications that may compound the physiological function of the heart including cholesterol, a fatty enzyme that can induce constriction (narrowing) of arterial and venous pathways coupled with diabetes, obesity, and sleep apnea. Individuals can experience a range of signs or symptoms linked to CHF such as arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), accelerated breathing episodes or shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, weight gain, and bouts of radiating chest pains, with each case reflecting the degree of the patient’s condition at any given stage. For many people, obstructive sleep apnea contributes negatively to the intramuscular activity of the heart where an obstructed airway depletes oxygen levels in the bloodstream, forcing the heart to compensate for the deficiency by pumping harder.

The connection between OSA-related cases and CHF can impact job performance, interfering with cognitive and motor coordination skills, posing a threat to individuals in a safety-sensitive position involving the operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). However, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices are beneficial for regulating a steady airflow into the nasal passages and mouth, tempering the detrimental effects related to CHF among other cardiovascular diseases.

This definition was written in the context of Sleep Apnea
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