Heart problems are one of the most commonly found chronic illnesses all around the world. This article on heart failure symptoms and its treatment, will definitely help you identify the signs and symptoms that are likely to occur so that you can prevent the condition before it reaches its severe form.
Heart failure is also very commonly referred to as congestive heart failure. It is a condition wherein the heart’s ability to pump sufficient amount of blood to meet the body’s demand is affected. This means that the heart becomes either too weak, or too stiff, to pump out enough blood to the veins of the body. This can be due to various causes. The anatomy of the heart consists of 4 chambers. As per research, most of the heart failures occur from the left side of the heart, and is later on accompanied by the right-sided heart failure. The left ventricle of the heart is the main source of blood pumping, therefore, it is the first section to be affected initially when it comes to development of diseases that can lead to heart failure.
Warning Signs of Heart Failure
Heart failure can be both acute or chronic in nature. Acute heart failure signs and symptoms are the ones that indicate the initial development of a heart disease. On the other hand, if these signs and symptoms are avoided, the condition may worsen and may lead to development of chronic heart failure symptoms. Mentioned below are the congestive heart failure symptoms that are categorized based on the nature of the heart failure. Have a look.
Symptoms of Left Sided Heart Failure
As mentioned earlier, this is the most common form of heart failure that takes place in the human body. The left side of the heart is responsible for receiving the blood enriched with oxygen and pumping it out to the rest of the body. Mentioned below are the left-sided heart failure symptoms, that may act as a warning sign for development of this chronic illness. Have a look.
- Shortness of breath
- Cough producing pinkish mucus
- Reduction in the production of urine
- Breathlessness while lying flat, needs to sleep with an elevated head.
- Sudden breathlessness at night
- Fluid retention in lungs
- Rapid and/or irregular pulse
- Weight gain
- In case of infants, symptoms like weight loss, poor feeding, slow weight gain, and growth may occur.
Symptoms of Right Sided Heart Failure
Right sided heart failure is comparatively rare as compared to left-sided heart failure. Right sided heart failure symptoms occur only in 1 among 20 people suffering from heart problems. This happens when the heart’s ability to pump blood from the right side of the heart is affected due to causes like hypertension, clots in the pulmonary arteries, etc.
Have a look at the signs that indicate right-sided heart failure.
- Swelling in the feet
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Swelling in the ankles
- Swelling on legs
- Fluid accumulation in the body that leads to swelling
- Increased frequency in urination, especially during the night-time.
- Enlarged liver
- Liver diseases
- Protruding neck veins
- Shortness of breath
- Palpitations and irregular heartbeats
- Chest pain
- Inability to concentrate
- Inability to do activities that exert the body
The symptoms of right-sided heart failure are very similar to systolic heart failure symptoms. This a condition wherein the ventricles of the heart stop contracting in the desired way, in order to pump sufficient blood in the body. You can also go through this article on diastolic heart failure, which is a condition wherein the left ventricle of the heart is unable to fill properly, leading to heart failure.
Heart Failure: Treatment and Prevention
The heart is the organ that never rests from the time we are formed, till the time we take our last breath. This is the reason why death is always referred to as ’till the heart stops beating’! Heart failure is a condition that cannot be reversed or completely cured. However, there are many treatments and lifestyle remedies that may help the heart function properly. The treatment depends upon the symptoms that you experience and the underlying causes that can be diagnosed with the help of tests like x-rays, ECG, blood tests, CT scans, MRI scans, etc. Depending upon the diagnosis, your doctor will prescribe treatment which may include medications or surgery, keeping in mind the severity of the condition.
Medications may include drugs like angiotensin converting enzye (ACE) inhibitors, beta blockers, diuretics, digitalis, aldosterone antagonists, and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). If the condition is severe, then the doctor may recommend a surgery which may include a bypass surgery, heart valve replacement or repair or a heart transplant. Certain devices like heart pumps, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), etc., may also be used to help the heart function in a much better way! If the condition is way too critical, then the doctor may suggest the patient for hospice care wherein the patient is under constant care of trained nurses and volunteers, either at home, or at a hospice residence.
It is best to identify the symptoms as soon as possible as any further delay could result in making the condition all the more chronic. Lifestyle remedies to prevent heart failure include reducing stress and controlling weight on a regular basis by being more active and fit. Other remedies include lesser sodium intake, consumption of a low-fat and low cholesterol diet. Also it becomes very important for such patients to refrain themselves from smoking and drinking. Sleeping properly also helps in keeping the mind active and stress free. It is advisable to get in touch with your healthcare specialist as soon as possible, as the sooner you start the treatment, the better will be the chances of improvement. Have a safe tomorrow!