Heart Failure

Heart Failure
Heart failure is a long-term condition wherein the heart does not pump adequately enough to meet the requirements of the body. It is a fairly common condition to develop, with various different types including:
  • Left-sided heart failure (including heart failure with reduced or preserved left ventricular functions)
  • Right-sided heart failure
Heart failure is a dangerous condition that is often caused by the following factors:
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attacks
  • Congenital heart conditions
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Arrhythmia
  • Obesity
  • Kidney disorders
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications
If left untreated, heart failure can be fatal, resulting in the following negative effects:
  • Heartbeat irregularities
  • Sudden cardiac arrests
  • Valve problems
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Kidney or liver damage
  • Fluid collection in the lungs
  • Malnutrition
Heart failure is often characterized by various symptoms such as:
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling and weakening of ankles, feet, legs and/or abdomen
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Need to urinate while resting
  • Heart palpitations or arrhythmia
  • Dry cough
  • Bloated stomach, leading to loss of appetite or nausea

Diagnosis and Treatment

Heart failure is diagnosed through a series of tests, scans and examinations that can help the doctor accurately determine your root problems and suggest appropriate treatments. Some diagnosis methods include:
  • Physical examination
  • Examination of personal medical history as well as familial history
  • Blood tests
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • X-rays of the chest
  • Echocardiogram
  • MRI scan
  • ECG
  • Stress test
Once an accurate diagnosis is obtained, you will be suggested any of the following treatment options, depending on your condition and its severity:
  • Medications, including beta-blockers, enzyme inhibitors, etc.
  • Surgical methods, to repair or replace faulty valves, vessels or other parts of the heart
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy
  • Implantable cardiac defibrillators
  • Heart transplants, in extreme cases

Prevention and Remedies

Heart failures can be prevented for the most part by following simple steps, including:
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating healthy and balanced meals
  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing stress levels
  • Quitting smoking
  • Quitting or limiting alcohol
  • Managing other medical conditions, you may have

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Heart Failure