What is heart failure and how it is treated?
When the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, the condition is known as heart (or cardiac) failure. It implies that the heart is either unable to pump with sufficient force or volume, or both. Heart failure can be caused by a variety of underlying heart conditions. The heart gradually becomes weaker and stiffer due to pre-existing disorders like excessive blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and heart valve problems such aortic regurgitation. The cardiac pump’s effectiveness is decreased as a result.
Many factors that contribute to failure cannot be changed. The issue may be resolved in some circumstances. The usage of currently available medications can increase survival by reducing the heart failure symptoms and indications. Exercise, weight loss, salt restriction, and stress management are lifestyle changes that improve quality of life by preventing fluid buildup. Risk factors need to be actively avoided or managed. The following conditions need to be targeted: coronary artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol.
Heart failure: What Is It?
Heart failure happens as a result of underlying issues making the heart activity weaker over time. The right side, the left side, or both of the heart may be impacted. Failure on the left side is more typical. due to the heart’s inability to deliver blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body. The heart is unable to force blood into the lungs for oxygen enrichment when there is right-sided failure.
Heart failure is known by many different names.
Congestive heart failure, or CHF, is a condition where the heart’s inadequate pumping results in symptoms.
- Heart failure on the left side
- Heart failure on the right side
- Failing heart in systole (the left ventricle loses its ability to contract vigorously) •
- Heart failure with diastole (the left ventricle loses its ability to relax or fill fully)
A combination may exist. While heart failure often worsens over time, it is possible for a normal heart to suddenly encounter a strain that it cannot support in some circumstances.
The symptoms of diminished cardiac pumping include:
- Shortness of breath as well as exhaustion
- Accumulation of fluid in the lungs
- Fluid accumulation in the foot, ankles, and legs
Signs & Symptoms
The inability of the heart to adequately pump blood forward causes the signs and symptoms of heart failure. Organs and tissues become backed up with blood or become clogged with it. Some heart failure patients don’t complain much. While the following are typical concerns in people with chronic heart failure (when the congestion develops gradually over time.
- A general sense of weakness or fatigue
- Breathing difficulty (while exerting oneself or even at rest if severe)
- Decreased capacity for exercise
- Persistent coughing or wheezing with phlegm that is tipped with white or pink blood
- Edema in the legs, ankles, and feet
- Abdominal swollen (ascites)
- Suddenly gaining weight due to fluid retention
- No appetite and sickness
- Having trouble focusing or being less alert
- Fast or irregular pulse
- Symptoms of a heart attack or aneurysm include abrupt, acute shortness of breath, coughing up pink, foamy mucous, and chest pain.
- Irregular or fast heartbeat and palpitations
- Rapid fluid accumulation
Heart Failure's Causes
Heart failure can have a variety of reasons. Sometimes the precise reason may not be discovered. Chronic heart failure has the following most frequent causes:
- Heart failure is most frequently caused by coronary artery disease, which narrows the blood arteries that supply the heart. Some parts of the heart experience chronically reduced blood flow due to the constriction, depriving them of oxygen-rich blood. These parts become weaker and pump less vigorously over time. Sometimes, the heart attacks are brought on by a complete cessation of blood flow. The heart muscle is harmed, which makes it less able to pump blood.
- Cardiomyopathy, or issues with the heart muscle, can be brought on by infections, alcoholism, chemotherapy, or the harmful effects of substances like cocaine. Heart damage can also be caused by lupus and thyroid issues, among other conditions. Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition for which there is no known cause.
- The heart has to work harder to pump blood as a result of hypertension, or high blood pressure. Due to the additional effort it must do, the heart muscle may enlarge. Sometimes the heart enlarges, eventually stiffening and weakening.
- Any of the four heart valves that are malfunctioning exerts strain on the heart. The heart has to exert itself more. The added effort makes the heart weaker. Arrhythmias, abnormal cardiac rhythms, add additional strain to the heart. Heart failure results from the abnormal heart rhythm over time. That prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to the body.
- The healthy components of the heart must work harder to make up for congenital heart disease (heart abnormalities present from birth). Myocarditis is a term used to describe heart muscle inflammation. It frequently results from a virus and can induce cardiac failure on the left side. Heart failure is also influenced by other illnesses such diabetes, severe anemia, sleep apnea, and thyroid issues.
Screening and diagnosis:
- Physical examination: checking the pulse, blood pressure, and signs of fluid buildup in the legs, abdomen, and lungs
- Blood tests: measuring levels of certain substances, such as B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP)
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Chest X-ray
- Cardiac MRI
- Cardiac CT scan
- Cardiac catheterization
Heart failure is treatable. It requires ongoing management. The heart’s ability to pump blood can be improved, as can the heart failure symptoms and indicators. Changes in lifestyle, medication, and occasionally gadgets that assist the heart beat properly are all used as treatment options. One cannot overstate the value of a healthy diet, moderation with alcohol, quitting smoking, consistent exercise, maintaining a healthy weight.
- Coronary Angiogram
- Coronary Angioplasty
- Pace Maker Implantation
- ICD Implantation
- CRT Implantation
Take control of your heart health today! If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of heart failure, don’t wait. Consult with our Doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Early detection and management can improve quality of life and reduce the risk of complications. Make your heart a priority and take the first step towards a healthier future.