The treatment for congestive heart failure includes medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery. This article provides information regarding the same.
The most vital function of the heart is to pump out oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to various parts of the body. When congestive heart failure occurs, the heart fails to carry out this work efficiently. This is mostly a chronic condition of the heart and develops over a period of time. However, in some cases, it may occur all of a sudden. The main aim of treatment is to improve functioning of the heart.
Causes and Symptoms
One of the key reasons behind this condition is coronary artery disease which results from the narrowing of the blood vessels that carry oxygen to the heart. Any infection affecting the heart muscles can weaken them, and thus pumping out the blood becomes difficult. High-blood pressure, heart attack, abnormality in heart rate, and thyroid problems can also give rise to this condition. Congenital defects in the heart, and alcohol or drug abuse are some of the other causative agents.
The symptoms start appearing gradually. Initially, patients may just have breathing problems and feel tired after physical activities. Later on, as the heart is unable to pump out the blood properly, fluid buildup is likely to occur in various parts of the body. When there is fluid in the lungs, the patient may experience symptoms like shortness of breath even when at rest, coughing, etc. Fluid in extremities of the body causes swelling of arms, legs, and ankles, which is also known as edema. Lack of oxygen in various internal organs of the body can cause severe damage to them. Irregular heartbeat, swollen abdomen, fatigue, weakness, rapid-weight gain are some of the other symptoms that are frequently observed.
The treatment option availed largely depends on the stages of congestive heart failure and overall health of the patient. In early stage, it can be treated with different drugs. ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors are administered to expand the blood vessels, and thereby improve the blood flow. Beta blockers are used for lowering high-blood pressure. Digitalis medication is beneficial for the improvement of the pumping action of heart muscles. It can effectively treat rhythmic disturbances of the heart.
These medicines are often accompanied by diuretics to facilitate the elimination of fluid and salt from the body. If the congestive heart failure is a result of some specific underlying health problem, then suitable medicines are administered to treat that particular disease. All these medicines should be continued as per the instructions of the doctor. Some medicines such as anti-inflammatory drugs are not suitable for these patients, and therefore, they should be strictly avoided. The condition of the patient is monitored closely with frequent checkups after regular intervals of time.
The treatment for elderly people mostly involves surgery because they do not respond to medicinal treatment effectively. Any abnormality in the heart valve is corrected, either by repairing or replacing it through surgery. Coronary bypass surgery is conducted on some patients to widen up the narrowed coronary arteries. Sometimes, when the heart is very weak and the heart rate is extremely slow, medical devices such as pacemakers are surgically implanted into the patient’s body. In severe cases, a heart transplant is required.
Natural treatment is an integral part of medical treatment. It includes inculcating a diet with low-fat and low-sodium foods. Limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption, quitting the habit of smoking, and maintaining a healthy body weight is very important to treat this condition. An active life with regular exercises is a must. In short, one must lead a healthy, stress-free life. All these measures will help improve the quality of life of these patients significantly.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.