Heart Failure

What is heart failure?

The basic function of the heart is to pump the blood which is then circulated to the entire body. Heart failure occurs when the heart fails to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

Symptoms

A heart failure patient may experience one of these or different symptoms:

  • Difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath. Initially, it will occur while the patient is exercising or doing some heavy work. At advanced stages, this occurs even while the patient is resting.
  • An interruption in sleeping because of difficulty in breathing.
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, and legs.
  • Coughing.
  • The extra fluid in the body leads to weight gain.
  • The patient is not able to do daily activities because they feel tired most of the time.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Vomiting and nausea.
  • Faster heartbeat.

Causes

Mostly, heart failure occurs because of one of the following reasons:

  • Blockage of the arteries (coronary heart disease).
  • Heart attack.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart valve problems.
  • Diabetes.
  • Lung diseases.
  • Genetic problems in the heart muscles.
  • Heart infections.
  • Excessive intake of alcohol.

Risk

A person is at a greater risk of heart failure if he/she is suffering from any of the following activities:

  • Reduced or low levels of haemoglobin or red blood cells.
  • Anaemia.
  • A thyroid gland that is overactive (hyperthyroidism).
  • A thyroid gland that is underactive in its functioning (hypothyroidism).
  • Constantly high fever and inconsistent heartbeat.
  • Consuming too much salt in the meals.
  • Stressing the body too much with physical exercises and work.
  • People who take a lot of emotional stress are also at a greater risk.

Prevention

Following are some measures that can help prevent heart failure:

  • Quitting smoking.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Healthier lifestyle by exercising.
  • Not allowing conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Eating healthy food.

How is it diagnosed?

Our doctor at Medanta will enquire about the medical history of the patient, and about the various symptoms that the patient is facing. The patient might have to undergo various tests which include...

How is it treated?

Heart failure can be treated and cured depending on the conditions and cause of the disease. Heart disease patients should determine the workload according to the capability of the heart to work (pump blood). Light physical activities like walking..

  • Medication

    Medications like ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, digoxin, and diuretics can help in reducing the workload of the heart. The doctor will probably ask the patient to take a combination of many types of drugs. Blood thinners also reduce the workload for the heart. Keep a track of side-effects that come with the drugs. Report it to the doctor immediately.

  • Gene therapy

    For treating the existing gene inherited by the patient, gene therapy can be used.

  • Dietary Changes

    Consume a diet with the low amount of potassium and also decrease the consumption of salt. Try to keep the body in motion with mild exercises.

When do I contact the doctor?

If you remain too tired or feel too weak to carry out daily chores and have a problem in breathing, do visit your doctor immediately.

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