What is heart failure?
Heart failure, sometimes known as congestive heart failure, occurs when the heart muscle does not pump blood as well as it should. Certain conditions, such as narrowing of the arteries in the heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, cause your heart to gradually weaken or stiffen so that it cannot fill and pump efficiently.
Your body relies on the heart’s pumping process to deliver oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your cells. When the cells are properly nourished, the body can function normally. With heart failure, the weakened heart cannot supply the cells with adequate blood supply. This results in fatigue, shortness of breath, and some people cough. Daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or carrying groceries can become very difficult.
Cardiovascular breakdown is a genuine ailment that requires treatment. Early treatment increases the chances of long-term recovery with fewer complications, and one way to prevent heart failure is to prevent and control conditions that cause heart failure, for example, coronary course sickness, hypertension, diabetes, or stoutness.
How does the normal heart work?
A normal healthy heart is a powerful muscle pump that is slightly larger than a fist. Blood is constantly being pumped through the circulatory system.
The heart contains four chambers, two on the right and two on the left:
- Two upper chambers called the atria (one called the atrium)
- Two lower chambers called the ventricles
The right atrium takes oxygen-depleted blood from the rest of the body and sends it through the right ventricle where the blood in the lungs is oxidized. The oxygen-rich blood travels from the lungs to the left atrium, then to the left ventricle, which pumps it to the rest of the body. The heart pumps blood to the lungs and all tissues of the body through a series of highly regulated contractions of the four chambers. For the heart to function properly, the four chambers must beat in an orderly fashion.
What are the different types of heart failure?
The heart has four chambers through which blood is siphoned. Freshly oxygenated blood is pumped from the lungs into the left atrium and left ventricle and out through the aorta for circulation through the rest of the body. After using the oxygen, blood returns through the veins to the right atrium and the right ventricle to the lungs to return the oxygen.
Systolic heart failure (left-sided heart failure)
When the heart loses its strength on the left side (the left ventricle) and cannot pump blood into the circulation, this is called systolic heart failure or left heart failure. When this happens, the heart dilates and becomes weak. Heart muscle strength can be measured with an echocardiogram that measures the ejection fraction. 70% of the ejection fraction is normal. The term congestive heart failure, or CHF, refers to a build-up of fluid in the tissues. Fluid can build up in the legs causing swelling (edema), in the lungs causing pulmonary edema, or in the abdomen where it is called ascites. A type of heart failure called acute decompensated heart failure is an emergency situation.
Diastolic heart failure (right-sided heart failure)
The second type of heart failure is diastolic heart failure, which is characterized by the thickening and stiffening of the lower chambers of the heart. When this happens, the left ventricle cannot fill with enough blood, and not enough blood is pumped into the circulation, even if the pumping process is still vigorous. This is the reason diastolic cardiovascular breakdown is in some cases alluded to as cardiovascular breakdown with protected launch division (PEF), or right-sided cardiovascular breakdown. If signs and symptoms of heart failure are present and the ejaculation rate is greater than 50%, then diastolic heart failure may be considered, especially if the echocardiogram shows that the heart muscle is enlarged.
Heart failure signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
- Increased need to urinate at night
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen, and veins in the neck
- Swelling of your abdomen (ascites)
- Very rapid weight gain from fluid retention
- Sudden, severe shortness of breath and coughing up pink, foamy mucus
- Chest pain if your heart failure is caused by a heart attack
- Lack of appetite and nausea
- Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
Causes of heart failure
Conditions that damage or overexert the heart muscle can cause heart failure. Over time, the heart weakens. It is not able to fill and/or pump blood as well as it should. When the heart weakens, some proteins and substances may be released into the blood. These substances have a toxic effect on the heart and blood flow, and they exacerbate heart failure.
Causes may include:
- Ischemic heart disease
- Cardiomyopathy, a disorder of the heart muscle that causes the heart to become weak
- A congenital heart defect
- A heart attack
- Heart valve disease
- High blood pressure
- Certain types of arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms
- Emphysema, a disease of the lung
- Severe forms of anemia
- An overactive or underactive thyroid
- Certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy
- Drug or alcohol misuse
One risk factor may be sufficient to cause heart failure, but a combination of factors also increases the risk.
Risk factors include:
- High blood pressure: Your heart works harder than it should if your blood pressure is high.
- Coronary artery disease: Narrowed arteries may limit the heart’s supply of oxygen-rich blood, causing the heart muscle to weaken.
- Heart attack: A heart attack is a form of coronary artery disease that occurs suddenly. Damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack may mean that your heart is no longer able to pump blood as well as it should.
- Having diabetes increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
- Some diabetes medications: The diabetes drugs rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos) have been found to build the danger of a cardiovascular breakdown in certain individuals. However, do not stop taking these medications on your own. If you are taking it, discuss with your doctor whether you need to make any changes.
- Certain medications: Some medications can lead to heart failure or heart problems. Medicines that may increase the risk of heart disease include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Some anesthetics, some antiarrhythmic drugs. Certain medicines are used to treat high blood pressure, cancer, blood diseases, neurological diseases, psychiatric conditions, lung diseases, urinary tract diseases, infections, and infections; And other over-the-counter medications.
- Do not stop taking any medications on your own. If you have questions about the medications you take, discuss with your doctor whether he recommends any changes.
- Sleep apnea: The inability to breathe properly while sleeping at night reduces oxygen levels in the blood and increases the risk of heart rhythm disturbances. Both of these problems can weaken the heart.
- Congenital heart defects: Some people with heart failure are born with structural heart defects.
- Valvular heart disease: People with valvular heart disease have a higher risk of developing heart failure.
- A viral infection may have damaged your heart muscle.
- Alcohol use: Drinking a lot of liquor can debilitate heart muscle and lead to a cardiovascular breakdown.
- Tobacco use: Using tobacco must increase your risk of cardiac infarction.
- People who are obese have a higher risk of developing cardiac infarction.
- Irregular heartbeats: These abnormal rhythms, especially if they are frequent and too fast, can weaken the heart muscle and cause heart failure.
How is heart failure diagnosed?
To diagnose heart failure, your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history, talk about your symptoms, and physically examine you. This will include checking your heart rate and rhythm, measuring your blood pressure, and checking whether you have fluid in your lungs, legs, and other parts of your body. In most cases, you’ll also undergo further tests to confirm the diagnosis and guide how your symptoms are managed.
You may hear your doctor talk about an “ejection fraction” of your heart. This refers to the amount of blood that is pushed out of the left ventricle each time your heartbeats. It is usually expressed as a percentage – more than 50% is considered normal. Some people with this heart defeat have a normal ejection fraction, so the ejection fraction is used along with other tests to help diagnose heart failure.
Heart failure treatment
Monitoring and self-care
If you have heart failure, your provider will monitor you very closely. You will have follow-up visits at least every 3 to 6 months, but sometimes much more. You will also have tests to check the function of your heart. Knowing your body and the worsening symptoms of your cardiopulmonary arrest will help you stay healthier and out of the hospital. At home, watch for changes in heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, and weight.
Weight gain, especially over a day or two, can be a sign that your body is retaining extra fluid and your heart failure is getting worse. Talk to your provider about what you should do if you gain weight or develop more symptoms. Reduce the amount of salt you eat. Your provider may also ask you to limit the amount of fluid you drink during the day.
Other important changes to make in your lifestyle:
- Ask your provider how much alcohol you may drink.
- DO NOT smoke.
- Stay active. Walk or ride a stationary bike. Your provider can provide you with a safe and effective exercise plan. Don’t exercise on days when you gain fluid weight or feel unwell.
- Get enough rest, including after exercise, eating, or other activities. This allows your heart to rest too.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Lower your cholesterol by changing your lifestyle.
Medicines, surgery, and devices
You will need to take medications to treat heart failure. Meds treat the indications, keep your cardiovascular breakdown from deteriorating, and assist you with living longer. You must take your medication as directed by your health care team.
- Help the heart muscle pump better
- Open up blood vessels or slow your heart rate so your heart does not have to work as hard
- Reduce damage to the heart
- Keep your blood from clotting
- Lower your cholesterol levels
- Reduce the risk of abnormal heart rhythms
- Replace potassium
- Rid your body of excess fluid and salt (sodium)
You must take your medication as directed. Do not take any other medicines or herbs without first asking your provider. Medicines that may cause your heart failure include:
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
The following devices and surgeries may be recommended for some people with heart failure:
- Coronary bypass surgery (CABG) or angioplasty with or without stenting may help improve blood flow to the damaged or weakened heart muscle.
- A defibrillator sends an electrical pulse to stop life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms.
- Heart valve surgery may be done if changes in a heart valve are causing your heart failure.
- A pacemaker can help treat slow heart rates or help both sides of your heart contract at the same time.
If you have heart failure, your outlook on the cause and severity, your general health, and other factors such as your age.
Complications can include:
- Kidney damage or failure: It can reduce blood flow to your kidneys, which can eventually lead to kidney failure if left untreated. Kidney damage caused by heart failure can require hemodialysis for treatment.
- Heart valve problems: The valves in your heart that keep blood flowing in the correct direction through your heart may not function properly if your heart is enlarged or if the pressure in your heart is too high because of heart failure.
- Heart rhythm problems: Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) can be a possible complication of heart failure.
- Liver damage: It can lead to fluid buildup and put severe pressure on the liver. This reserve fluid can lead to scarring, making it more difficult for the liver to function properly.
With appropriate treatment, some people’s symptoms and heart function will improve. However, cardiac arrest is life-threatening. People with heart failure may have severe symptoms, and some may require a heart transplant or ventricular assist device support.
How can you prevent heart failure?
A sound way of life can help treat cardiovascular breakdown and keep the condition from creating in any case. Losing weight and exercising regularly can greatly reduce your risk of cardiopulmonary arrest. Reducing the amount of salt in your diet can reduce your risk.
Other healthy lifestyle habits include:
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Getting an adequate amount of sleep
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding foods high in fat