What Are the 4 Stages of Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart disease (CHD) is a condition that occurs when the heart cannot pump a sufficient amount of blood throughout the body. Knowing what can cause CHD or congestive heart failure is vital, as a proactive approach to CHD awareness can help prevent this condition. The four stages of congestive heart failure range from being high risk of developing heart failure to a diagnosis of advanced heart failure. These four stages are labeled stages A, B, C, and D, with Stage D being the most severe. Here’s a look at each stage, and how they are classified differently. 

Stage A

This stage is considered to be pre-heart failure, as it generally means that you are at high risk of developing heart failure. This comes because you have a family history of heart failure, or because you have been diagnosed with one or more medical conditions to put you in this classification. These conditions could stem from things like diabetes, hypertension, obesity or high blood pressure. These are the only factors that contribute to this diagnosis, as family history of CHD, or history of drug and/or alcohol abuse can also damage the muscles of the heart. 

Stage B

Patients diagnosed with Stage B heart failure have generally been found with some sort of structural dysfunction. Patients in Stage B experience no symptoms of heart failure in this stage. Because of this asymptomatic nature, this stage is also sometimes referred to as silent heart failure. This stage also means your health care provider has diagnosed systolic left ventricular dysfunction, where an echocardiogram has shown structural disease but no symptoms. This recognition shows that the patient is at high risk for an adverse cardiovascular event. 

Stage C

The diagnosis of Stage C heart failure means the patient has had previous signs of heart failure, or have already been diagnosed with the condition. This diagnosis is usually identified when the patient with the structural heart disease of Stage B begins experiencing symptoms of heart failure. These symptoms can range from an irregular heartbeat to fatigue. There are a multitude of symptoms that can come along with this diagnosis, such as swollen feet and angles, shortness of breath, nausea, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, increased urination at night, or difficulty exercising.

Stage D

The most severe stage of heart failure is when patents become unresponsive to treatments. This means the condition has advanced to the point where even mild activity can cause the symptoms of Stage C to become extreme. This is the final stage of heart failure, and creates cause for further evaluation into more advanced treatment options. These could include ventricular assist devices or heart transplants, but may also be remedied by surgery, intravenous drugs, or other therapies. Patients in this stage have severe functional limitations, and need an extensive management and treatment plan.

CHD or congestive heart failure are serious medical conditions that need to be identified right away in order to get a proactive approach to treatment. For more information about these conditions, and the stages listed above, reach out to the experts at Conquering CHD today.

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