Heart failure, or also referred to as congestive heart failure, occurs when your heart muscle fails to pump blood as efficiently as it is supposed to. Like high blood pressure or narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease), few conditions gradually weaken or stiffen your heart, making it unable to fill and pump efficiently.
Although not all conditions that cause heart failure can be reversed, treatments can alleviate the symptoms of heart failure and aid you live longer. So When should you consult a doctor? And What are the symptoms and signs of congestive heart failure?
Heart failure can be ongoing (chronic), or it can strike suddenly (acute).
Here are 12 signs of heart failure that you should be aware of:
- Fatigue is an early symptom of congestive heart failure. While fatigue is a sensitive indicator of underlying congestive heart failure, it is also a nonspecific symptom caused by various other conditions. The individual’s ability to exercise may also deteriorate. Affected individuals may not even notice the decrease, and they may reduce their activities subconsciously to accommodate this limitation.
- Sudden, severe shortness of breath, along with coughing up pink and foamy mucus.
- Some patients may be unable to sleep unless they are sitting upright.
- Shortness of breath resulting from the fluid can build up in the lungs, especially during exercise and when lying flat.
- increased urination, particularly at night caused by The extra fluid in the body
- Nausea and decreased appetite Caused by Accumulation of fluid in the liver and intestines
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
- Very rapid weight gain from fluid retention
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
- Swelling (edema) of the ankles, legs, or abdomen may occur as the body becomes overloaded with fluid because of congestive heart failure. This is known as “right-sided heart failure” because the failure of the right-sided heart chambers to pump venous blood to the lungs to obtain oxygen results in the accumulation of this fluid in gravity-dependent areas such as the legs. The most common cause is a long-term left-heart failure, which can lead to secondary right-heart failure.
What are the causes of congestive heart failure?
Heart failure frequently occurs after your heart has been damaged or weakened by another condition. However, the heart does not have to be weakened for there to be heart failure.
The principal pumping chambers of your heart (the ventricles) may stiffen and fail to fill appropriately between beats if you have heart failure. In some severe cases of heart failure, your heart muscle can become damaged and weakened, and the ventricles may stretch (dilate) to the point where the heart cannot efficiently pump blood throughout your body.
An ejection fraction refers to measuring how well your heart pumps and is used to classify heart failure and guide treatment. The ejection fraction in a healthy heart is 50% or higher. However, even with an average ejection fraction, heart failure can occur. This occurs when the heart muscle stiffens as a result of conditions such as high blood pressure. Heart failure can affect your heart’s left (left ventricle), right (right ventricle), or both sides. Heart failure usually starts on the left side, specifically the left ventricle, your heart’s main pumping chamber.
What are congestive heart failure complications?
If you have heart failure, your prognosis is determined by the cause and severity of your condition and your overall health, and other factors such as your age. Among the complications that may arise are:
- Kidney damage or failure: If left untreated, heart failure can reduce blood flow to your kidneys, eventually leading to kidney failure. Kidney damage caused by heart failure may necessitate dialysis treatment.
- Heart valve problems: If your heart is enlarged or the pressure in your heart is very high due to heart failure, the valves that keep blood flowing in the proper direction through your heart may not function properly.
- Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias): Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) can be complications of heart failure.
- Liver damage: Heart failure can cause a buildup of fluid, putting undue strain on the liver. This fluid accumulation can cause scarring, making it more difficult for your liver to function correctly.
With proper treatment, some people’s symptoms and heart function will improve. Heart failure, on the other hand, can be fatal. People with heart failure may experience severe symptoms, and some may require a heart transplant or ventricular assist device support.
How to prevent congestive heart failure?
Lowering the risk factors is the key to avoiding heart disease. Many risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, may be managed or avoided by making lifestyle adjustments combined with any medications that may be needed.
You can help prevent heart failure by making the following lifestyle changes:
- Not smoking
- Controlling certain conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
- Staying physically active
- Eating healthy foods
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Reducing and managing stress
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