Congestive heart failure (CHF) is the term used to refer a failing heart which would not be able to pump blood towards the rest of the body. There can be many causative factors leading to the development of congestive heart failure and among them, poor blood supply to the heart muscles, previous instances of heart attacks or damage to the heart muscles, defects of heart valves, structural abnormalities of the heart, high blood pressure and infections of the heart muscles as well as the heart valves would be some of the important ones.
According to the New York Heart Association, the congestive heart failure would be classified into four stages from I – IV. The classification is based on the symptoms shown by these patients and therefore the stages I and II are considered early stage disease whereas the stages III and IV are known to be advance stages of heart failure.
When elaborating on the symptoms that are considered for stage III, there would be noticeable restriction of even the mildest activity due to the occurrence of symptoms related to CHF. In stage IV, the activities would be restricted further and would make the patient feel severe symptoms even during the time of rest.
Thus, let us now see some of the symptoms that are known to be associated with advanced congestive heart failure.
Shortness of breath
This would be the result of lungs working to compensate for the inadequate blood circulation by trying to oxygenate more blood in a given exchange cycle. At the same time, this can be augmented by the congestion of the lungs with accumulation of fluids and therefore becoming restricted in oxygenating blood.
When the tissues are not receiving adequate oxygen, the body will feel unusual tiredness which would be manifested as extreme fatigue.
Swelling of the extremities
Due to the hearts inability to pump blood adequately, the venous blood can pool in the extremities and the most dependent parts would be the ankles and the legs. Thus, when the edema of the extremities becomes worse, it should point towards a worsening of the existing heart failure.
When a patient with heart failure develops late stages of the disease, they can have a chronic cough due to the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Thus, the persisting irritation would give rise to a cough that can be characteristically present in the late stages of the disease.
Apart from these, there may be other signs which can be detected by clinicians in order to detect the late stages of the disease.