Uncovering The Hidden Heart: Approaches To Diagnosing Congestive Heart Failure

The human heart is a complicated organ that is even more complicated by disorders and disease that cannot be seen on an x-ray. In fact, all you can see on an x-ray is a blob in the center of your rib cage. If there is anything out of the ordinary with your heart, a doctor has to go to great lengths to find it. When you have congestive heart failure, it is very difficult to diagnose based on symptoms alone. Here are the various tests and screenings your doctor will use to confirm that you have this dangerous heart disorder.

MRI Imaging

MRIs are able to provide your doctor with numerous "slices" of your heart, all in real-time 3D imaging. The images reveal the size of your heart, the flow of blood in and around and out of the chambers, and they show whether or not part of your heart is not working the way that it should. An MRI is the first choice in testing and imaging when you are trying to find something wrong with the heart because the machine allows you to see directly into the heart itself. To learn more, get in touch with a business like Kenai Peninsula Imaging Center, LLC.


An EKG or ECG is the same thing, just different letters. It is short for an electrocardiogram, which monitors the bio-electrical signals your heart sends out to activate the different parts of the heart. Without these signals, your heart would not know when to squeeze and when to pump blood through its chambers. When your heart is having some trouble, the EKG/ECG will register that there is an irregular heartbeat present, but it cannot show you what the cause is. Only an MRI can do that.

Stress Tests

Stress tests test the condition of your heart by having you run or walk very fast on a treadmill with heart monitor leads stuck to your chest. The purpose is to see if your heart skips a beat, or becomes unable to function properly when you are attempting to make your heart pump harder and faster. If the heart has a pumping abnormality during or after intense exercise, your doctor knows that something is amiss.

This type of testing may be the first test your doctor issues, or it may be the last test to determine how much stress your congested heart can handle. Then you know how much exercise is too much exercise for your heart. You will have to monitor your heart the rest of your life once you are properly diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

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understanding your doctor's orders

When your doctor gives you test results or tells you what your blood pressure is, do you understand what he or she is saying? Do you know what a healthy person's blood pressure should be? Do you know what weight you should try to maintain for your age and height? My blog will help you better understand what your doctor is trying to tell you as he or she discusses the results of your tests with you or tells you that you need to drop a few pounds or change your diet to improve your blood pressure. Hopefully, it will help you understand why you have been given the doctor's orders that you have been.