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What is congestive heart disease?

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Quick Answer

Congestive heart disease, commonly known as heart failure, means that the heart is unable to pump blood as powerfully as normal, says WebMD. The walls of the heart's muscles weaken as a response, which results in the kidney retaining fluids. Fluid can build up in organs and congest the body.

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What is congestive heart disease?
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Full Answer

Doctors diagnose around 670,000 people each year with heart failure, claims WebMD. Blood moves slower through the heart and body in people with heart failure. The body does not receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients from the heart, which results in the stretching of heart chambers to hold more blood to pump. However, the muscle eventually becomes weaker and unable to pump blood efficiently. The kidney responds by retaining fluids and salt, which can lead to buildup in body organs. The fluid buildup can congest the body, hence the name "congestive heart disease."

Heart failure results from conditions that damage the heart muscle, explains WebMD. The common causes of heart failure are coronary artery disease, heart attacks, cardiomyopathy and high blood pressure. Symptoms of heart failure include lung congestion, fluid retention, increased fatigue, and rapid or irregular heartbeats. Heart failure symptoms can be mild to severe, constant or irregular, or not present at all. To diagnose congestive heart disease, doctors usually ask about medical history, conduct physical exams, and order additional tests such as X-rays and blood tests.

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