Heart failure is a collection of symptoms characterized by the heart’s inability to pump blood throughout the body. All major functions of the body are disrupted when there is insufficient blood flow. In some cases, patients may experience stiffening of the heart muscle itself, resulting in blockage of blood flow to the heart.
Heart failure can affect either the right or left side of your heart, and it can either manifest as an acute or chronic condition, differentiated by the length of the symptoms.
When an oily deposit called plaque accumulates and hardens in your arteries, after a period of time it can lead to shrinking of the arteries like a blocked pipeline. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. It results in a reduced amount of blood supply travelling to and from the heart as the corridors of the arteries continue to narrow. Gradually, as the heart muscles weaken it will lead to heart failure.
A heart attack results when there is an unexpected blockage of an artery that supplies blood to an area of your heart. The blockage is usually caused by fatty materials called plaque, which build up in the arteries, causing them to narrow. If the blockage is left untreated, over time the damage to the heart muscle can be irreversible. Heart attacks are also referred to as myocardial infarctions or coronary thrombosis.
High blood pressure or hypertension can cause excessive strain and severely narrow the arteries serving the heart as a result of fat buildup, cholesterol, and other substances, together called plaque. This is a slow process known as atherosclerosis and it leads to blood clots, starving the heart muscle of oxygen and nutrients. Ultimately, the damage caused to the heart muscle is called a heart attack.
Insulin has the function of moving the sugar in your blood to your cells where it will be utilised for energy. When you have diabetes, your body does not utilise insulin or make enough insulin to convert sugar into energy. This leaves excess sugar in the blood, causing harm to your arteries and potentially leading to heart failure.
OSA is the most common form of sleep apnea and it is caused when the upper airway collapses or gets blocked during sleep. Obesity can contribute to this issue, but it is also found amongst non-obese individuals.
Sleep apnea is linked to heart failure in the following way: when a person stops breathing, oxygen levels drop, causing the body to release adrenaline, a stress hormone. If this becomes persistent, over time it can lead to high blood pressure, and consequently, increase the risk for heart failure.
Heart disease can be prevented by controlling or eliminating the risk factors, which can include making lifestyle changes, such as managing stress better, staying physically active, and eating a healthy diet.