GREENWICH, Conn. -- In honor of heart month, Greenwich Hospital cardiologist Dr. Chris Howes discussed signs, symptoms and treatment of congestive heart failure on a recent episode of Tony Savino's "Spotlight on Medicine" on WGCH-AM radio on Thursday, Feb. 6.
In the beginning of the program, Howes discussed the difference between a heart attack and congestive heart failure. He described a heart attack as when the blood supply to the heart muscle is abruptly interrupted and the heart starves from a lack of oxygen.
"Congestive heart failure is not the same as a heart attack," said Howes.
"Congestive heart failure is a descriptive term used to describe a patient who's heart function is inadequate to provide the needs for the body. There are many causes and it is very common."
Congestive heart failure is when the heart does not function, the body inappropriately holds onto salt/water and a person begins to become swollen, he said.
Some of the common causes of congestive heart failure include blocked arteries, heart attack, leaking valves and uncontrolled hypertension. In 25 percent of patients with heart failure, the cause is unknown.
Howes explained some of the symptoms of congestive heart failure as fatigue, running out of gas, loss of appetite and exercise intolerance.
"As congestive comes there will be swelling of the legs and lungs shortness of breath when laying down and ominous symptoms such as fainting or passing out when your heart is in a severe state.
Congestive heart failure is a treatable condition, and there are medicines such as diuretics and therapies used to help cure a person depending on the underlying cause.
To avoid congestive heart failure, Howes said people must lead a heart-healthy life.
To hear the full interview with Dr. Chris Howes, click here.