The term congestive heart failure does not necessarily denote that the heart has stopped functioning. However, heart failure is a serious condition where the heart does not pump an adequate supply of blood to the vital organs efficiently. Insufficient blood flow results in the disturbed working of the bodily process. It is a condition that eventually weakens your heart.
Heart failure can affect the right or left side or both side of the heart at the same time. It could be an acute or chronic ongoing health condition. In acute heart failure, the symptoms show suddenly but settle soon and in most cases, it develops after a heart attack. Acute heart failure may also be due to problems with heart valves which is responsible for the circulation of blood in the heart. Whereas in chronic heart failure, the symptoms are continuous and do not get better over time and the majority of heart failure cases are chronic. Also Read: Congenital Heart Disease And The Imperative Need For Timely Management
About 1.7 million people annually in India have heart failure and prevalence is more among men than women. It is a serious medical condition that requires prompt medical treatment which can increase your chances of recovery and lifespan.
Some of the symptoms of heart failure may include:
Rapid weight gain
Lower extremities oedema
Protruding neck veins
Causes of Heart Failure
The causes of heart failure are often linked to another illness, the most common cause is due to coronary artery disease (CAD), a condition that results in narrowing of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Some of the other conditions that may increase the risk of developing heart failure include:
Cardiomyopathy-heart muscle becomes weak
Heart valve disease
Irregular heart rhythms
Different Types Of Heart Failure
Heart failure can develop in either left or right side of the heart or both sides at the same time. It is also categorised as diastolic or systolic.
Left-Sided Heart Failure
It is the most common type, the left ventricle is situated in the bottom left side of the heart, this region pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. Left-sided heart failure develops when the left ventricle does not efficiently pump blood. The blood flows back to the lungs instead, which leads to shortness of breath and accumulation of fluid.
Right-Sided Heart Failure
The right ventricle role is to pump blood to the lungs to collect oxygen, right-sided heart failure develops when the right side of the heart cannot function properly. It is generally triggered by left-sided heart failure. The accumulation of blood and fluid in the lungs caused due to left-sided failure makes the right ventricle to function hard, this lead to stress and result in right-sided heart failure.
Diastolic Heart Failure
It develops when the heart muscle becomes stiffer than usual, which means the heart cannot fill with blood easily. It leads to a poor supply of blood flow to the vital organs in the system. It is more common among women than in men.
Systolic Heart Failure
Systolic heart failure develops when the heart muscle loses its ability to contract. Proper contraction of the heart is required to pump oxygenated blood out of the body. This condition is called systolic dysfunction and it generally occurs when the heart is weak and enlarged. It is more common in men than in women.
Heart failure is effectively diagnosed by performing an echocardiogram. This test uses sound waves to get detailed images of heart which help the doctor to examine the damage to the heart and find out the underlying causes of heart failure. Some of the other tests include a complete physical evaluation to check out for any signs of heart failure such as swelling in the leg, irregular heartbeat and protruding of neck veins.
The mode of treatment for heart failure depends on the severity of the condition. Prompt treatment can better the condition and it is also important for patients to get periodic testing every three to six months. The main aim of treatment is to increase lifespan and improve quality of life. Also Read: World Heart Day: 5 Simple Ways To Care For Your Heart
Early stages of heart failure are effectively treated with medication to alleviate the symptoms and avert worsening of the conditions. Certain medications are prescribed to promote the heart’s ability to pump blood, reduce blood clots, lower cholesterol levels, flush out excess sodium and replenish potassium and normalise the heart rate.