What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure, also referred to as a congestive cardiac failure, is a chronic heart condition. Heart failure, despite the name suggesting otherwise, is the inability of the heart to pump blood as effectively as it should. This frequently brings on shortness of breath because blood often backs up, and fluid can accumulate in the lungs.
The heart eventually becomes too weak or stiff to fill and pump blood adequately due to some heart disorders, such as coronary artery disease (coronary artery disease) or excessive blood pressure.
What are the types of Heart Failure?
Heart Failure is generally broken down into these types:
- Left-sided heart failure
- Heart failure with reduced left ventricular function (HF-rEF)
Your heart's left ventricle, the lower left chamber, enlarges and becomes unable to squeeze (contract) forcefully enough to deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body.
- Heart failure with preserved left ventricular function (HF-pEF)
Your heart pumps and contracts as usual, but the ventricles at its base are thicker and stiffer than normal. Your ventricles are unable to relax adequately and fill up as a result. Your heart contracts, pumping less blood to the rest of your body because there is less blood in the ventricles.
- Right-sided heart failure
The right side of your heart is susceptible to heart failure as well. The most frequent cause of this is heart failure on the left side. Additional factors include specific lung difficulties and problems with other organs.
What are the Causes of Heart Failure?
Heart failure can be brought on by a variety of illnesses that harm the heart muscle. Common ailments include:
- Abnormal heart rhythms, including atrial fibrillation.
- Coronary artery disease.
- Heart attack.
- Heart issues present at birth.
- High blood pressure.
- Having obesity.
- Kidney disease.
- Tobacco and recreational drug use.
What are the complications of Heart Failure?
- A collection of fluid in your lungs.
- Heart valve problems.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Kidney damage.
- Liver damage.
- Sudden cardiac arrest.
- Pulmonary hypertension.
What are the symptoms of Heart Failure?
The kidneys' usual ability to rid the body of excess salt and waste products is hampered by heart failure. Although the body retains more fluid when a patient has congestive heart failure, not all patients do. The following are signs of cardiac failure:
- Breathing difficulties when performing daily tasks.
- Having difficulty breathing while sleeping or lying down.
- Swelling of the stomach, legs, ankles, or feet, along with weight gain
- Feeling generally worn out or weak.
What are the Risk Factors for Heart Failure?
A variety of factors can increase heart failure risk. Some factors, like your lifestyle choices, are within your control, while others, like your age, race, or ethnicity, are not. If you have more than one of the following, your risk of developing heart failure rises:
- Aging: Your heart might become stiff and frail as you age. The risk of heart failure is increased in people over 65. Additionally, older persons are more susceptible to other medical disorders that lead to heart failure.
- Family History: Your risk of heart failure is increased if your family has a history of the condition. Genetics is also necessary. Your heart tissue may become weaker or less flexible due to specific gene changes or mutations.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle: Your risk of heart failure increases if you practice harmful lifestyle behaviors, including smoking, eating a poor diet, taking cocaine or other illegal drugs, drinking excessively, and not exercising.
- Heart, blood vessel & lung conditions, Infection: Your risk is increased by illnesses of the heart or blood vessels, severe lung diseases, or infections like HIV or SARS-CoV-2. The same is true for chronic conditions like anemia, thyroid disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, chronic renal disease, and iron overload. Radiation and chemotherapy for cancer can harm your heart and increase your risk. Heart failure can also result from atrial fibrillation, a frequent form of abnormal heart rhythm.
- Race: People of color are more likely than people of other races to have heart failure and frequently experience heart failure in more severe forms and at earlier ages.
What are the preventive measures for Heart Failure?
By changing your lifestyle to one that is healthy and using the recommended medications, you can reduce or even altogether remove many heart disease risk factors.
You can alter your way of life to assist in preventing heart failure by:
- Staying at a healthy weight.
- Eating foods that are good for your heart.
- Exercising regularly.
- Managing your stress.
- Stopping the use of tobacco products.
- Avoiding drinking alcohol.
- Managing other medical issues that could raise your risk
Since heart failure is a chronic, protracted condition, discuss your preferences for medical care with your doctor and your family.