When the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should, it causes heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure. When this happens, blood can back up in the lungs and fluid can build up, causing shortness of breath.
Certain cardiac disorders, such as restricted arteries in the heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, cause the heart to weaken or stiffen over time, making it unable to effectively fill and pump blood.
Proper treatment can help some people live longer by reducing the signs and symptoms of heart failure. Losing weight, exercising, limiting salt (sodium) in your diet, and managing stress are all examples of lifestyle changes that can improve your quality of life.
Heart failure, on the other hand, can be fatal. Heart failure can cause severe symptoms, and some people may require a heart transplant or a ventricular assist device (VAD).
Preventing and controlling conditions that might lead to heart failure, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, is one strategy to avoid heart failure.
Heart failure can be long-term (chronic) or develop quickly (acute).
The following are some of the indications and symptoms of heart failure:
- When you are active or lying down, you may experience shortness of breath.
- Weakness and exhaustion
- Legs, ankles, and feet are swollen.
- Heartbeats that are fast or irregular
- Exercise ability is hampered.
- Coughing or wheezing that is persistent, with white or pink blood-tinged mucous
- Swelling of the abdomen (abdomen)
- Fluid retention causes fast weight gain.
- Nausea and an inability to eat
- Concentration problems or a lack of alertness
- If heart failure is triggered by a heart attack, you may experience chest pain.
When should you see a doctor?
If you suspect you could be suffering from heart failure, see your doctor. If you have any of the following symptoms, seek emergency medical help:
- Pain in the chest
- Fainting or a great deal of weakness
- Shortness of breath, chest pain, or fainting are all symptoms of a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
- Coughing up white or pink foamy mucus and experiencing sudden, severe shortness of breath.
Although heart failure may be the source of these signs and symptoms, there are many other possibilities, including potentially life-threatening heart and lung disorders. Make no attempt to diagnose oneself.
Doctors in the emergency room will try to stabilize your condition and assess whether your symptoms are caused by heart failure
If you’ve been diagnosed with heart failure and any of your symptoms suddenly worsen or you develop a new sign or symptom, it’s possible that your existing heart failure is worsening or not responding to therapy. If you gain 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms) or more in a few days, this could be the situation. Make an appointment with your doctor right away.
Heart failure generally occurs after the heart has been injured or weakened by other disorders. Heart failure, on the other hand, can develop if the heart gets excessively rigid.
The main pumping chambers of the heart (the ventricles) may stiffen and fail to fill correctly between beats in heart failure. The heart muscle can be injured and weakened in some persons. The ventricles may enlarge to the point where the heart is unable to adequately pump blood throughout the body.
The heart can no longer keep up with the normal demands placed on it to pump blood to the rest of the body as time passes.
By measuring how much blood is pumped out with each beat, your doctor can evaluate how well your heart is pumping (ejection fraction). Ejection fraction is a metric that is used to classify and treat heart failure. The ejection fraction of a healthy heart is 50 percent or greater, which means that each beat pumps out more than half of the blood that fills the ventricle.
However, even with a normal ejection fraction, heart failure can occur. This happens when the heart muscle stiffens as a result of diseases like excessive blood pressure.
The left side of your heart (left ventricle), the right side (right ventricle), or both sides of your heart can all be affected by heart failure. The left half of your heart, especially the left ventricle — your heart’s primary pumping chamber — is where heart failure usually starts.
Any of the disorders listed below can harm or weaken your heart, resulting in heart failure. Some of these may be present even if you aren’t aware of it:
- Heart attack and coronary artery disease. The most prevalent type of heart disease and the leading cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease. The condition is caused by fatty deposits forming in the arteries, which restrict blood flow and can result in a heart attack. When a coronary artery gets totally clogged, a heart attack happens suddenly. Because of the damage to your heart muscle caused by a heart attack, your heart may no longer be able to pump as well as it should.
- Hypertension. Your heart has to work harder than it should to pump blood throughout your body if your blood pressure is high. This increased exertion might cause your heart muscle to become too stiff or weak to adequately pump blood over time.
- Heart valves that aren’t working properly. The heart’s valves keep blood flowing in the right direction. A weakened heart is caused by a damaged valve, which can be caused by a heart defect, coronary artery disease, or a heart infection.
- The cardiac muscle is harmed. Heart muscle injury can be caused by a variety of factors, including specific illnesses, infections, high alcohol use, and the toxic effects of medications like cocaine or chemotherapy treatments.
- Other illnesses. Chronic heart failure can also be caused by long-term illnesses including diabetes, HIV, an overactive or underactive thyroid, or a buildup of iron or protein.
Other Risk factors for heart failure include:
- Diabetes. Diabetes raises your chances of developing high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Stopping medicines on your own is not a good idea. Consult your doctor to see if any adjustments are necessary.
- Some diabetic treatments. In certain patients, the diabetes medications rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos) have been reported to raise the risk of heart failure. However, do not discontinue taking these drugs on your own. If you’re taking them, check with your doctor to see if any adjustments are necessary.
- Use of alcoholic beverages. Overconsumption of alcohol can weaken the heart muscle, resulting in heart failure.
- Sleep apnea. Low blood oxygen levels and an increased risk of irregular heartbeats come from an inability to breathe adequately when sleeping. Both of these issues have the potential to impair the heart.
- Tobacco use or smoking. Quit smoking if you’re a smoker. Tobacco use raises your chances of developing heart disease and heart failure.
- Obesity. Obese people have an increased chance of getting heart failure.
- Viruses. The cardiac muscle can be damaged by some viral infections.
Reducing your risk factors is the key to preventing heart failure. Many of the risk factors for heart disease can be reduced or eliminated by following a healthy lifestyle and taking the medications prescribed by your doctor.
You can help avoid heart failure by making the following lifestyle changes:
- Smoking cessation
- Controlling some diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes
- Maintaining a healthy weight by staying physically active and eating nutritious meals
- Keeping a healthy weight is important.
- Stress reduction and management