Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle weakens and cannot pump as well as it should. The heart’s major pumping chambers (ventricles) can vary in size and thickness, and can’t contract or relax properly. It causes fluid retention in the lungs, legs, and abdomen.
Heart failure is caused by coronary heart disease, heart attacks, excessive blood pressure, muscle damage (cardiomyopathy), valve issues, and irregular heart rhythms. The most prevalent causes are coronary heart disease and heart attack.
Heart failure symptoms
heart failure symptoms include:
- shortness of breath that is new or worsening (particularly during physical activity or waking you up at night)
- a problem with sleeping on one’s back
- passing out or fainting (syncope)
- loss of muscle mass (more than 2kg per week)
- weariness, exhaustion
- There is ankle or lower leg edema
- enlargement of the abdomen
- irregular heartbeats (heart pounding or beating too fast)
- soreness or discomfort in the upper torso
- Unexplained coughing or wheeze that cannot be explained
- lack of appetite
Risk Factors for Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure is associated with a variety of risk factors, including the following:
- Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a kind of cardiovascular illness that affects the arteries of the heart.
- Hypertension is a medical condition that affects blood pressure (high blood pressure)
- Several types of cardiac rhythm problems
- a person of advanced years
- Those of African-American ancestry
- Chronic alcohol and/or drug misuse is a serious problem.
- Thyroid dysfunction (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism)
- Chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment for cancer have been used previously.
- Pulmonary hypertension is a medical condition that affects the blood vessels in the lungs.
- A sedentary way of life
- Heart valve disease that has occurred previously
- Previous coronary artery bypass graft surgery has been performed.
- Heart failure in the family is a possibility.
Diagnosis of heart failure
A variety of tests can be used to confirm the presence of heart failure, including:
- Echocardiography is a type of medical imaging that examines the heart (ultrasound of the heart)
- a treadmill stress test (walking on a treadmill while attached to a heart monitor for testing purposes) (ECG)
- Lung function tests are performed.
- Angiography is a medical term that refers to the study of blood vessels (procedure to look for blockages in the heart)
- Blood tests are performed.
According to Jones, the most effective strategy to prevent congestive heart failure is to avoid the factors that lead to it or to properly treat these problems if they do occur in the first place.
Stop smoking: better still, don’t even bother starting. It is a significant contributor to arterial disease, which can result in heart failure. Also, avoid being around people who are smoking.
Eat heart-healthy: The best foods for you are low in saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt. Think fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean protein like skinless chicken, and “good” fats like olive oil, salmon, and avocados. Eating for heart health is easy with Eat Smart.
Lose weight: Physical activity, in conjunction with a healthy diet, aids in the achievement of this objective and is also beneficial to your heart.
Congestive Heart Failure Treatment
Heart failure therapy is a continuum. Treatment focuses on lifestyle modifications and basic medical interventions. Intensive medical therapy or the implantation of a device like a pacemaker or implanted cardioverter-defibrillator may be required (ICD).
Our team of professionals offers sophisticated surgical options such as left ventricular assist devices and heart transplants for those individuals who do not respond to less aggressive therapies.
Heart failure therapies at UT Southwestern include:
- Modify your way of life
- Don’t smoke
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and stress
- Reduce fluid intake
- Reduce salt intake
Drugs do not work for everyone with heart failure. Surgical options include:
Coronary artery bypass graft: Congestive heart failure is routinely treated with this treatment.
Percutaneous coronary intervention: This nonsurgical technique places a stent in the heart to open the blood arteries.
Pacemaker: That’s a little gadget that helps fix an erratic pulse.
Cardiac ablation: Correcting a cardiac rhythm issue. In the arteries or veins, a catheter
Valve replacement: This operation replaces a faulty valve that causes heart failure.
Implantable LVAD: This can benefit cardiac patients who have not responded to previous medications. Doctors may prescribe them to transplant patients.
Heart graft: An option if no other treatments or operations work. A transplant is only considered for someone who is otherwise healthy.
UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s leading academic medical facilities, provides several clinical studies targeted at improving cardiovascular patient outcomes.
Patients can often get access to cutting-edge therapies that aren’t readily available. Patients who sign up for a UT Southwestern clinical study may receive therapies years before the general public.