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Let us do our part to care for our heart
29 Sep 2021

Heart failure, commonly known as Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a critical health condition where the heart will not pump blood. When this happens, fluids accumulate in the lungs causing breathing trouble.

There are many factors such as coronary artery diseases that cause weak heart muscles. Heart failure can be very life-threatening, which sometimes requires medical procedures such as heart transplantation.

Proper medication and treatments along with a healthy lifestyle can help to make us safe against this life-threatening condition. In this article, we are going to see all that we need to know about heart failure including causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

What are the signs of heart failure?

There are a variety of symptoms of heart failure. Sometimes these symptoms can be chronic and sometimes they can be mild. Whatever the symptom is, do not ignore any symptoms associated with heart failure. 

In most cases, during the early stages of heart failure, no symptoms will be experienced. But in the long run, you will start to experience symptoms slowly or rapidly. 

Some of the most common symptoms associated with heart failure include:

  1. Breathing troubles, while doing physical activities or lying
  2. Drowsiness
  3. Swelling is associated with legs, feet, and ankles
  4. Irregular heart beat
  5. Continuous cough
  6. Swelling of the abdomen area
  7. Rapid weight gain
  8. Nausea
  9. Lack of appetite
  10. Reduction in concentrating
  11. Chest pain 

When should you consult a doctor?

Worsening heart failure can be dangerous. You should immediately consult a doctor if you have the following signs and symptoms such as:

  1. Chest pain that spreads in the upper part of the body
  2. Fainting
  3. Rapid breathing
  4. Blue colouration in the skin

What is the most common cause of heart failure?

Heart failure commonly occurs after many factors that weaken heart muscles. Stiffness of heart muscles can also result in heart failure. 

In some cases, the ventricles become so stiff that they cannot help the heart to pump blood. And as time passes by, your heart becomes no longer able to satisfy the needs for the proper functioning of the body.

Your health expert analyses the health of your heart by measuring ejection fraction. Ejection fraction is the rate of blood pumped in each beat. For a healthy person, the ejection fraction is more than 50%.

But ejection fraction alone cannot determine a healthy heart. Sometimes people with an ejection fraction of more than 50% can also suffer from heart failure. This is because many factors like blood pressure can make the heart muscles so stiff and lead to heart failure.

Heart failure can involve the left ventricle, right ventricle, or sometimes both. But generally, they start from the left ventricle. 

In the case of left-sided heart failure, fluids may get collected in the lungs and cause issues such as breathing trouble. 

In the case of right-sided heart failure, fluids may get collected in body parts such as legs, abdomen, or feet and cause swelling.

There are many other causes of heart failure which includes:

1. Hypertension

Hypertension can sometimes lead to heart failure. During hypertension, your heart needs to supply more blood to facilitate the body’s requirements. Due to heavy work, the heart muscles can become stiff and will not be able to produce sufficient blood.

2. Coronary artery diseases

Coronary artery disease is the most common cause related to heart failure. Consumption of fatty substances and conditions such as high cholesterol levels can block coronary arteries. 

Coronary arteries are very thin in size. Due to the above-mentioned factors, they can become more narrowed or blocked. A heart attack usually occurs when coronary arteries become completely blocked.

3. Malfunctioning of heart valves

Heart valves are the main passage through which blood flows. It supports a healthy working heart. When these valves get blocked due to coronary artery disease or heart infection it weakens the heart muscles and thus causes heart failure.

4. Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias is the condition where your heart beats too fast or too slow than usual. When your heart beats too fast it can weaken your heart muscles and cause heart failure. Similarly, the slow beating of the heart can also cause heart failure.

5. Congenital heart defect

Congenital heart defects can also be a major factor in heart failure. If any parts of the heart aren’t normal, the healthy parts of the heart should work more in pumping blood and thus it leads to serious issues.

What are the treatments for heart failure?

When you consult a medical health expert for heart failure, they may use one or more treatment methods that are suitable for you depending upon your condition. Some of the most common treatment methods used are medications and surgical procedures

Medications

  1. ACE inhibitors

They open up narrowed blood vessels to increase the blood flow

  1. Beta blockers

Beta-blockers reduce the physical work of the heart muscles and thus normalizes blood pressure. 

  1. Diuretics

These drugs are used to reduce the body’s fluid content. Heart failure can hold on to more fluids than normal.

Surgical Procedures

If medications aren’t effective against your condition, then your doctor may adopt surgical procedures. In cases, where opening up of blocked arteries is required your health expert may undergo angioplasty.

In cases where your valves need to be closed or open properly, valve repair surgery may be preferred. 

How can we prevent heart failure?

Changing your sedentary lifestyle is the only key to prevent heart failure. We all can adopt some easy steps to prevent heart failure such as:

  1. Avoid smoking
  2. Consuming a heart healthy diet
  3. Engaging in physical activities
  4. Maintaining healthy body weight
  5. Limit alcohol consumption
  6. Say no to drugs

Heart failure is a serious health issue. Following a healthy lifestyle can prevent heart failure to an extent. You are advised to visit a cardiologist as soon as possible if you have any symptoms associated with heart failure.

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