Congestive Heart Failure

Also indexed as:CHF
CHF is a serious condition that requires support from health professionals. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful for supporting heart health.
Congestive Heart Failure: Main Image

About This Condition

Caution: Congestive heart failure is a serious medical condition that requires expert management rather than self-treatment.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic condition that results when the heart muscle is unable to pump blood as efficiently as is needed.

High blood pressure can cause congestive heart failure. Failure of the heart pump can also result from many other causes, such as severe anemia, hyperthyroidism, heart attacks, and arrhythmias of the heart.


CHF leads to breathlessness, fatigue, and accumulation of fluid in the lungs or the veins (primarily in the legs) or both.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Even with severe disease, appropriate exercise can benefit those with CHF.1, 2 In a controlled trial, long-term (one year) exercise training led to improvements in quality of life and functional capacity in people with CHF.3 Nonetheless, too much exercise can be life-threatening for those with CHF. How much is “too much” varies from person to person; therefore, any exercise program undertaken by someone with CHF requires professional supervision.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) appear to significantly increase the risk of CHF. The use of NSAIDs in one preliminary study was found to double the likelihood of hospital admission with CHF the following week. This likelihood increased by more than 10 times for patients with a history of heart disease.4 This study did not include people taking low-dose aspirin.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.

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