The term “heart failure” may make it sound like the heart has stopped working but that is not the case.
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure refers to the heart’s inability to pump blood as well as it should be. There are number of heart conditions such as narrowed arteries or high blood pressure which can gradually weaken your heart, making it either too stiff or weak to be able to pump blood efficiently. This leads to fatigue and shortness breath as the cells in the body can’t get the needed supply of oxygenated blood.
Not all conditions that cause heart failure can be reversed but there are treatments for heart disease that can improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure. Changes in one’s lifestyle can have a huge impact on your quality of life and may help prevent or reverse heart disease.
Symptoms of Heart Failure
It wise to seek medical counsel in case you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with heart failure. The doctor will correctly diagnose the problem. An already diagnosed heart failure condition where the symptoms become worse indicates that the existing heart failure treatment is not working or the condition is getting worse.
Common Heart Conditions
There are a number of heart diseases that can lead to heart failure. Some of the most common ailments of heart are:-
Angina – angina is caused by accumulation of plaque on the walls of the arteries, which restricts the blood flow. To compensate for the limited supply of blood, the heart starts beating faster. Symptoms of angina are similar to that off a heart attack, which makes it difficult to detect the exact condition at the time of a medical emergency.
Arrhythmia – In arrhythmia, the heart starts beating too fast or too slow or erratically. The primary damage occurs to the heart’s electrical conduction system, congenital heart disease and other heart diseases. The symptoms of arrhythmia are usually visible only at a later stage.
Atrial Fibrillation – One of the main types of heart disease, in atrial fibrillation, deoxygenated blood flows through the body due to built-in pacemaker sending mismatched impulses.
High Blood Pressure – Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition where blood flows through the blood vessels at faster pace, leading to an increased pressure in the arteries. The condition, if it persists for long, can cause damage to arteries and blood vessels, increasing the risk of a stroke or a heart attack. It is one of the few heart diseases one can prevent or reverse with medication and a change in lifestyle.
Cardiomyopathy – It is a disease of heart where the muscles become rigid, enlarged or thicker than normal. Over time, heart loses its ability to pump blood in appropriate quantity, which weakens the patient and increases the risk of heart failure.
High Cholesterol – Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in the blood. In case of increased levels of cholesterol, plaque starts forming in the walls of the arteries. Over a period, the plaque hardens and cracks, forming a clot. This clot blocks the blood in the artery leading to a heart attack.
Heart Failure treatment
Heart failure is a condition that may require lifelong treatment. But with treatment, heart disease symptoms may gradually improve and may help you live longer. The cure for heart disease includes medications and surgical methods. Also a change in diet can reverse heart diseases in certain cases.
The doctor will put the patient on medication if finds that the heart disease can be cured without surgical intervention. The doctor might prescribe a combination of two or more medication to treat heart failure and the doses might be adjusted frequently, especially when patient’s condition is worsening or a new medication has been prescribed.
In cases where the condition of the patient has deteriorated significantly, the doctor may decide to operate to treat the underlying condition that has been causing the heart failure. Some of the common surgical procedures used are:-
Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes
Making changes in your lifestyle and diet can help cure and even reverse heart disease. These changes can be the most beneficial for your overall health. Changes in lifestyle that doctors recommend are:-
Heart failure remains undiagnosed for years but just following above simple steps can help treat heart’s condition without surgery.