Heart Failure: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatments

In some cases, the muscles of the heart can become weak and they will not be able to pump blood in the normal manner. This leads to heart failure condition during which the heart will not be able to function to its optimum potential even though it keeps working. While many of the cases can be reversed easily by taking suitable treatment, some conditions remain so for a long duration and you need to try to reduce symptoms and increase the lifespan in that scenario. It can be due to many reasons like high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary artery disease and even lifestyle conditions like obesity. Most people suffering from this condition experience fatigue and shortness of breath and they will not be able to do hard work. This can also lead to severe complications at a later stage and can even become fatal when treatment is not provided at the right time. The best way to prevent this condition is to exercise caution and maintaining a healthy lifestyle be eating nutritious food and avoiding smoking and alcohol in the long run. When it comes to treatment, you need to understand that it varies depending on the stage of the heart failure and many cases will be rectified through surgery. In extreme cases, the patient may even need a heart transplant to recover completely from this condition.

Symptoms of Heart Failure:

  • When it comes to the symptoms of heart failure, some of them may last for a long duration and some of them may occur once in a while depending on various factors.
  • People suffering from this condition often experience shortness of breath when they are involved in strenuous activities. They also feel a sense of constant fatigue accompanied by general weakness.
  • It is also common to notice irregular heartbeat on many occasions and the overall ability to exercise or getting involved in strenuous activities will reduce by a huge margin.
  • It can also cause swelling of legs and ankle region due to accumulation of fluids in the body.
  • It can also cause swelling of the abdomen region and they feel like urinating on a regular basis especially during night time.
  • Even weight gain is noticed all of a sudden due to accumulation of fluids in the body.
  • Many people suffering from this condition complain about chest pain and difficulty in breathing on a regular basis.

When you find any of these behavior, Immediately visit doctor for consultation .

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Causes of Heart Failure:

  • When you are suffering from coronary artery disease, the fat cells get deposited in the arteries and this reduces the flow of blood to this region. It can lead to heart attack in many cases and eventually cause heart failure condition.
  • You need to be very watchful about the symptoms of hypertension as having a high blood pressure on a regular basis means that your heart will have to work harder to pump blood and this eventually weakens the muscles of the heart region leading to heart failure.
  • Regular consumption of alcohol in excessive quantity and drug abuse can damage the heart muscles and this can cause heart failure in many cases. This damage can also happen due to genetic reasons or when you are suffering from some infections.
  • When the valves that are responsible for proper flow of blood in the heart region get damaged, it can cause heart failure in the long run.
  • The inflammation of the muscles in the heart region called Myocarditis can also cause this condition in many patients. In other cases, having abnormal heartbeats either too fast or too slow can also lead to heart failure in the long run.
  • Some of the defects of the heart muscles may be from birth and this makes your heart to pump blood by working harder and this can cause failure of the heart in many cases.
  • Other underlying health conditions like diabetes and hypothyroidism can eventually lead to heart failure in many patients.

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Diagnosis of Heart Failure:

  • Physical examination : In this step, your doctor will examine general symptoms of the condition and pay attention to the heartbeat as any irregular pattern can indicate some problems with the heart. Apart from that, the accumulation of fluids in the body is also analyzed as this can also be a symptom of heart failure in many cases. This will also give some clarity about the proper working of lungs in the body.
  • Blood Test : You need to remember that heart failure can be caused due to various other medical conditions and getting a blood test done will give some insight into the cholesterol levels in the body. Apart from that, it can also indicate other infections and diseases in the body that can eventually lead to heart failure in future.
  • ECG Test : In this test, electrodes are attached to your chest region and the electrical activity in this region is monitored. This can give some insights into the problems associated with the heart.
  • Echocardiogram test : In this test, the sound waves that provide the video of the heart region is analyzed and this can help the doctors to identify any abnormalities in the region. It can easily show how well the heart is pumping blood and this will help the doctors to ascertain the overall condition of the heart.
  • Imaging test : A CT scan of the cardiac region will give clear insight into the heart and chest region and doctors can identify if any symptoms of heart failure is present in the body. When an MRI scan is performed on the cardiac region, it is possible to get complete images of the heart region and this will be useful in analyzing the problem.
  • Stress Test : This is very common and many hospitals use such tests to determine the strength of the heart muscles. In this test, the ECG electrodes will be connected to your body and you will have to walk or run on the treadmill to analyze the strength of the heart. When you wear a suitable mask, it can be used to measure the intake of oxygen to the body and this will help doctors to identify problems with the heart.

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Prevention of Heart Failure:

  • You need to pay attention to ways in which you can prevent heart failure as this can lead to serious consequences in the long run. It is important to stay away from harmful habits like smoking as this can damage your heart by causing various complications.
  • In the same manner, leading a healthy life is important by exercising regularly as this will keep your muscles toned and you will not easily put on weight. Remember that obesity can eventually lead to heart failure over many years as this puts additional burden on the heart to pump blood throughout the body.
  • You should also understand that regular problems like high blood pressure can be dangerous in the long run as this puts too much load on the heart and the muscles in this region become very weak over a period of time.
  • When you are suffering from diabetes, you need to understand that it can be taxing on the heart to work in a normal way and you can suffer from heart failure in future.
  • Eating a healthy diet goes a long way in preventing various health problems and you can even avoid heart failure by consuming the right kind of foods suited for your body.
  • Finally, you should also work on reducing the stress levels as this can increase the blood pressure and cause various problems in future. This can impact the muscles of the heart and weaken them over a period of time.

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Treatment of Heart Failure:

  • In most cases, you will need long term treatment to manage this condition as this is a chronic disease. In many cases, it is possible to reverse the condition and lead a normal life. In other cases, you will only be able to control the symptoms so that the lifespan can be extended for few more years.
  • ACE inhibitors : These drugs can help to manage systolic heart failure conditions effectively as it widens the blood vessels in the body. This improves the blood flow in the heart region and lowers the pressure in this region.
  • Beta blockers : These drugs are beneficial when it comes to reducing the heart rate and it will also be able to control the blood pressure in the body. With the help of such drugs, it becomes easy to manage the symptoms and reverse heart failure condition in many cases.
  • Diuretics : This medication is useful in avoiding the fluid accumulation in the body as it makes you urinate more frequently. For this reason, it is also known as water pill and you can effectively use this drug to reduce water accumulation in the lungs region. However, the level of magnesium and potassium in the body needs to be constantly monitored when you are using such medication.
  • Surgery : In cases when the condition is in advanced stages, surgery may be required to treat the condition. The coronary bypass surgery is useful to avoid blood flow into the blocked artery and this will ensure proper blood circulation in the heart region.
  • Similarly, the heart valve that is faulty can be replaced or repaired to ensure proper flow of blood in this region. Apart from that, devices like ICD or pacemaker can be used to monitor heart rhythm and it can give mild shocks to the heart whenever it goes off. The pacemaker will be suited when it comes to maintaining the pumping action of the heart. In extreme cases, when nothing works, heart transplant surgery is chosen to restore the normal functioning of the heart.

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Complications of Heart Failure:

  • When you are suffering from this condition for a long time, it reduces the supply of blood to the kidneys and this can eventually lead to kidney failure.
  • It can also lead to liver damage as the excessive accumulation of fluids puts lot of pressure on vital organs of the body.
  • This will usually hamper the normal beating of the heart and cause heart rhythm issues in the long run.
  • It can lead to fatal consequences in the long run and you should get it treated at the earliest so that there will be chances of reversal of this condition.

Myths and Misconnection about Heart Failure:

Myth #1:Heart failure needs surgery :

This is not true all the time and most of the times, it can be managed by using medication and other treatment. Surgery is used only when all the other methods are not suitable and the problem has already reached advanced stages.

Myth #2:Heart failure is fatal condition :

Only in extreme cases, this condition is fatal. Otherwise, it can be easily managed and even advanced stages can be treated with surgery and other treatments. With advanced treatment facilities, it is possible to extend the lifespan of patients suffering from this condition.

Myth #3:Heart failure affects only adults :

While majority of patients are adults, it can even affect kids when they have this condition by birth.

Conclusion:

Most people suffering from this condition will be able to recover and lead a normal life when it is still in the early stages and proper treatment is given at the right time. However, it cannot be completely cured in many cases and you will have to manage the symptoms throughout your life. When it comes to treating extreme cases, surgery can prolong the lifespan of the individual and this will be effective in reducing the symptoms. The treatment for early stage can be done using medication and this will provide some relief from the symptoms of this condition. Considering all these issues, it makes sense to take precautionary measures to avoid this condition. When you lead a healthy lifestyle by eating the right kind of food and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, you will be able to prevent such conditions in future. In the same manner, attention should be given to preventing obesity and other related conditions like diabetes that can contribute to heart failure in many cases. When you take care of all these issues, managing your heart becomes easy and you can lead a comfortable life in future.

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Last updated on : 24-12-2018

Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.

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