What is Heart Failure
Otherwise known as congestive heart failure, it is a condition wherein the heart fails to pump or fill in the adequate amount of blood as it is supposed to. To sum up, the heart falls short in supplying blood enough to meet the body’s requirements. An age-old misconception regarding heart failure is that it’s often confused with a heart attack or cardiac arrest. When a person is said to be suffering from heart failure, it doesn’t mean the blood flow to or from the heart has completely stopped (as in the case of a cardiac arrest), or that a part of the heart muscle is dead (as in the case of a heart attack).
Failure of the heart doesn’t mean it has altogether stopped working. Rather it is the gradual weakening of the heart. Heart failure is a chronic condition which means it usually lasts for a lifetime. A Coronary artery disease that causes the narrowing down of the arteries present in the heart is the major cause of heart failure.
Beware of These Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure
- The common symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, especially when the patient lies down or exercises.
- Since most of the organs are deprived of an adequate amount of blood and oxygen, tiredness is also a common sign.
- As the heart fails to pump blood, an irregularity in the heartbeat rate is observed.
- Like other organs, the kidney also faces inadequacy of blood supply leading to retention of water in some parts of the body which in turn causes swelling of legs, ankles and abdomen and rapid weight gain. Excessive urge to urinate especially during the night time is also due to the same factor.
- Bloating in the stomach leads to nausea and a hasty loss of appetite.
- Continual cough and/or wheezing with a tint of blood is also reported in some cases.
- Projecting neck veins also is often seen in patients suffering from heart failure.
Though these are the common symptoms, some of these are arbitrarily classified into left and right-sided symptoms considering the fact that the right and left ventricles of the heart supply for different allocations of circulation.
When to Seek Medical Assistance
Heart failure is not a rapid or sudden occurrence; rather, it is a deliberate process that ends up being fatal due to other conditions like heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, obesity, heart muscle diseases, problems associated with the heart valve and irregular heartbeat. An unhealthy lifestyle that includes the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and certain medicines also contributes towards the severing of the heart condition. A range of effective medication for treatment of non-severe heart conditions is available at PricePro, a certified online pharmacy. Of course, you’ll need a valid prescription to order your drugs.
If any of the symptoms or signs of heart failure are observed, immediate medical assistance has to be sought to identify the root cause. Besides that, emergency medical help should be taken if the patient experiences chest pain, unconsciousness, severe weakness, irregular pace of heartbeat, shortness of breath or blood-stained mucus. These symptoms may or may not be an indication of heart failure but whatever the case may be, self-diagnosis and treatment should be avoided at all times.
As a part of the diagnosis, various procedures are conducted by the cardiologist which primarily includes few blood tests, electrocardiogram, chest X-Ray, echocardiogram, Exercise Test, Heart Catheterization and/or Radionuclide Ventriculography.
Depending on the severity, heart failures are usually classified into four types, ranging from highly prone to developing a heart failure to advanced heart failure. Those with a possibility of heart failure because of family history or other health conditions are placed in the first category which is also termed as pre-heart failure group.
If systolic left ventricular dysfunction is diagnosed, the patient is considered to be in the second category or stage-B, Stage-C is if the tests confirm a case of heart failure. Those with advanced or severe cases of symptoms are told to be in the final stage.
Though heart failure is a chronic disease and doesn’t come with a complete cure, doctors can prescribe treatment to ease the symptoms and to get the heart to circulate the blood efficiently. Lifestyle changes including regular exercise, healthy weight management, following a proper diet, quitting smoking and tobacco and proper hydration are inevitable in the effective treatment of heart failure.
ACE inhibitors, diuretics, beta-blockers, and digoxin are commonly prescribed medicines during the treatment.
In case of severe heart failure, one of the following surgeries is recommended:
- Surgery of the heart valves
- Bypass surgery
- Cardiac resynchronization therapy
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
- Infarct removal surgery
- Ventricular assistive device implantation
- Heart transplantation
Preventive Measures for Heart Failure
An unhealthy lifestyle is a prior determinant that cannot be skipped while assessing what causes heart failure. The following steps can be adapted in order to protect and ensure the well being of heart:
- Exercising regularly
- Following a healthy and nutritious diet that includes vegetables, fruits, lean meat, beans and legumes, fat-free dairy products, whole grains, and healthy fats and by limiting the addition of salt, sugar, processed carbohydrates and trans fats.
- Avoiding the consumption of alcohol and tobacco
- Keeping a check on maintaining a healthy weight
- Ensuring adequate sleeping hours
- A stress-free life.