What Are The Treatment Options For Canine Congestive Heart Failure
The main goal of CHF treatments is to reduce fluid around the heart so it can function more efficiently, pumping blood to the lungs and other organs. The secondary goal of CHF treatments is to reduce symptoms for your pet so they are more comfortable. The most common CHF treatments include:
ACE inhibitors are drugs which dilate blood vessels so blood can pass more easily, which means the heart doesnt need to work so hard to do its job properly. They are a very common treatment for CHF, and they are often used in conjunction with other treatment options.
Diuretics are often used alongside other treatments to help remove some of the fluid build up with congestive heart failure.
Digoxin helps the heart contract and is commonly used for CHF.
Calcium Channel Blockers
Calcium channel blockers help relax heart muscles and maintain a steady heart rhythm with fewer disturbances. They may also be used to slow the heart rate.
Beta-blockers are used to slow the heart rate, reduce the demand for oxygen, and maintain a normal heart rhythm.
Your dogs vet may prescribe any combination of the above medications to help manage your dogs CHF symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
Can You Reverse Heart Disease
But can you actually reverse it, not just slow it down?
You can undo some, but probably not all, of the damage. Youâll have to make big, lasting changes to your lifestyle.
What Is Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure describes the inability or failure of the heart to meet the needs of organs and tissues for oxygen and nutrients. This decrease in cardiac output, the amount of blood that the heart pumps, is not adequate to circulate the blood returning to the heart from the body and lungs, causing the fluid to leak from capillary blood vessels. This leads to symptoms that may include shortness of breath, weakness, and swelling.
Understanding blood flow in the heart and body
The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs while the left side pumps blood to the rest of the body. Blood from the body enters the right atrium through the vena cava. It then flows into the right ventricle where it is pumped to the lungs through the pulmonary artery, which carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs. In the lungs, oxygen is loaded onto red blood cells and returns to the left atrium of the heart via the pulmonary veins. Blood then flows into the left ventricle where it is pumped to the organs and tissues of the body. Oxygen is downloaded from red blood cells into the various organs while carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism, is added to be removed in the lungs. Blood then returns to the right atrium to start the cycle again. The pulmonary veins are unusual in that they carry oxygenated blood, while the pulmonary artery carries deoxygenated blood. This is a reversal of duties versus the roles of veins and arteries in the rest of the body.
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What Is Heart Failure
The term “heart failure” can be frightening. It doesn’t mean the heart has “failed” or stopped working. It means the heart doesn’t pump as well as it should.
Heart failure is a major health problem in the United States, affecting about 5.7 million Americans. About 550,000 new cases of heart failure occur each year. It’s the leading cause of hospitalization in people older than 65.
If you have heart failure, you’ll enjoy better health and quality of life if you take care of yourself and keep yourself in balance. It’s important to learn about heart failure, how to keep in good balance, and when to call the doctor.
Left Ventricular Assist Devices
These may be implanted in the chest to increase heart pumping action. Until recently, LVADs required that the patient be hooked up to a large, hospital-based console while awaiting a transplant. Miniaturized battery-powered LVAD units, however, are allowing many patients to leave the hospital. The devices may be used as a primary treatment or as a bridge to heart transplant in adults.
Can Congestive Heart Failure Be Reversed
This treatment starts with prescriptions, and procedures may be done to help the heart get stronger. In addition, there are medications available that will help you improve your quality of life.
Things You Can Do Today To Prevent/reverse Heart Disease
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What You Can Do For Your Loved One
In addition to symptom management, its important for the family caregiver to learn how to recognize the end-of-life signs for CHF, and when they should contact hospice. Hospice care will be able to address the specific needs of CHF patients in their final days, and help them to get the most out of what time they have left.
Right Sided & Left Sided Heart Failure
When the right side of the heart is not pumping effectively, the blood returning to the heart from the body backs up in the veins. Right sided Heart Failure causes a backup of blood coming into the heart. Symptoms of right sided Heart Failure:
- Swelling in the liver
- Abdominal distention
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
The blood enters the left side of the heart from the lungs. When the left side of the heart is not pumping blood forward well enough, blood backs up, causing fluid accumulation in the lungs. This is also called congestive Heart Failure. Decreased forward blood flow results in less nourishment to the bodys organs and tissues. Symptoms of left sided Heart Failure:
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What Are The Types Of Heart Failure
There are many causes of heart failure, but the condition is generally broken down into two types:
Heart failure with reduced left ventricular function The lower left chamber of the heart gets bigger and cannot squeeze hard enough to pump the right amount of oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.
Heart failure with preserved left ventricular function The heart contracts and pumps normally, but the bottom chambers of the heart are thicker and stiffer than normal. Because of this, the ventricles can’t relax properly and fill up all the way. Because there’s less blood in the ventricles, less blood is pumped out to the rest of the body when the heart contracts.
Treating The Underlying Causes
A number of conditions can contribute to heart failure. Treatment of these other factors may range from surgery or angioplasty to open clogged blood vessels in patients with coronary artery disease to medications prescribed to control high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia or thyroid disease. In addition, it’s particularly important to treat abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias in patients with heart failure.
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A Personal Story: Reversing Congestive Heart Failure
Dr. Gibert Sita, cardiologist, and Don GrossnicklePhoto courtesy of Don Grossnickle
When the echocardiogram technician with a troubled look on her face said, “I can’t find your heartbeat — it is so weak,” I jokingly replied: “I know why, it is because I left my heart in San Francisco.”
In May, 2016, I was facing a diagnosis of acute idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy .
Luckily, this story has a happy ending due to a professional medical team working together in close partnership with a cooperative, diligent patient. It is possible to avoid the surgery and early death that can come with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure.
Just before surgical implant of a cardiac defibrillator, and following 155 days of exhaustive lifestyle changes — at the final hour — my heart responded with what is called a “miracle reversal and remodeling.”
Surgery was no longer needed, the symptoms reversed and the heart restored to a normal status.
What was the formula and how did this miracle come to life?
Stage 2 Of Congestive Heart Failure
Stage two of congestive heart failure will produce symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, or heart palpitations after you participate in physical activity. As with stage one, lifestyle changes and certain medication can help improve your quality of life. Your doctor will discuss treatment with you and help you on your healthcare journey while living with CHF.
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Can You Reverse The Effects Of Congestive Heart Failure
Making simple changes to the lifestyle as well as in the diet can help put brakes on congestive heart failure. Additional changes include bringing down the weight and how well you can manage stress. Apart from slowing the process, it is now possible to reverse the effects of congestive heart failure. You can only do a few of the symptoms, but not all. You can just feel the lasting effects only when you make changes to the lifestyle and adhere to the same.
Implantable Left Ventricular Assist Device
An implanted left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, may be a temporary bridge to transplant for patients awaiting a heart donor. When heart transplantation isnt an option, an LVAD can help the patients heart pump blood permanently.
The pump is implanted in the upper part of the abdomen and functions as a mechanical heart, pulling blood from the left ventricle and sending it to the aorta for delivery to the rest of the body. A tube attaches the pump to a battery and control system, worn outside the body.
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Severe Heart Failure May Be Reversible
Scientists may have discovered a way of reversing heart failure by getting heart muscle to regenerate itself.
In a paper recently published in the journal Nature, the researchers, led by a team from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, report their findings about the signaling pathway, which is known as Hippo.
Heart failure is a serious condition that affects around 5.7 million adults in the United States. It develops when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the bodys needs.
Heart failure does not mean that the heart has stopped pumping, but it does mean that vital organs do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly. Around half of patients with heart failure do not live more than 5 years after diagnosis.
Heart failure remains the leading cause of mortality from heart disease, explains corresponding author James F. Martin, a professor who specializes in regenerative medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and who is also director of the Cardiomyocyte Renewal Lab at the Texas Heart Institute, also in Houston.
When Should I Call An Ambulance
If you have any of the symptoms below, call triple zero immediately and ask for an ambulance. If calling triple zero does not work on your mobile phone, try calling 112.
- chest pain thats severe or worsening, or has lasted longer than 10 minutes
- chest pain that feels heavy, crushing or tight
- other symptoms, such as breathlessness, nausea, dizziness or a cold sweat
- pain in your jaw or down your left arm
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Early Symptoms Of Heart Attack
According to the studies, early heart attack symptoms occur in 50% of people who have heart attacks. So if youre aware of the early signs, you can be prepared to get treatment promptly enough to prevent heart damage.
Doctors, however, overwhelmingly assist people in getting help if theyre enduring early heart attack symptoms. This is because 85% of heart damage happens in the first two hours.
Early symptoms of heart attack that can be seen in men and women are following:
- Chest discomfort or pain
Exercise 45 Days Per Week To Stay Healthy
Prof. Devine says that they also found that the time to start exercising is in late middle age, when the heart still has plasticity.
I recommend that people do 4 to 5 days a week of committed exercise as part of their goals in preserving their health, he urges.
He suggests a similar program to the one that the participants undertook in the study. This should include:
- at least one long session per week lasting around an hour of cycling, walking, tennis, or aerobic dancing
- one high-intensity aerobic session per week, such as four-by-four interval training
- one session of strength training per week
- two or three sessions of moderate-intensity exercise per week
Moderate-intensity exercise is that which still causes you to perspire but is not so intense that you cannot carry on a conversation.
Because the study included mostly white volunteers who wanted to take part and were physically able to do so, the findings may not apply to the population in general or to other racial groups, explain the researchers.
The key to a healthier heart in middle age is the right dose of exercise, at the right time in life.
Prof. Benjamin D. Levine
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Causes Of Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure can often develop in a person when their heart has been weakened or damaged by some other conditions.
Though, it is not always the case. Sometimes it can occur if the heart of a person becomes too stiff.
When a persons heart begins to fail, the ventricles of the heart becomes too stiff, which causes them to not fill properly. Or the heart muscles become so weak and damaged that the ventricles dilate and stretch to an extent that the efficiency of blood circulation throughout the body is affected.
There are certain other conditions that contribute towards congestive heart failure in a person. They are:
Congestive Heart Failure: Prevention Treatment And Research
Congestive heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart doesnt pump blood as efficiently as it should. Despite its name, heart failure doesnt mean that the heart has literally failed or is about to stop working. Rather, it means that the heart muscle has become less able to contract over time or has a mechanical problem that limits its ability to fill with blood. As a result, it cant keep up with the bodys demand, and blood returns to the heart faster than it can be pumped outit becomes congested, or backed up. This pumping problem means that not enough oxygen-rich blood can get to the bodys other organs.
The body tries to compensate in different ways. The heart beats faster to take less time for refilling after it contractsbut over the long run, less blood circulates, and the extra effort can cause heart palpitations. The heart also enlarges a bit to make room for the blood. The lungs fill with fluid, causing shortness of breath. The kidneys, when they dont receive enough blood, begin to retain water and sodium, which can lead to kidney failure. With or without treatment, heart failure is often and typically progressive, meaning it gradually gets worse.
More than 5 million people in the United States have congestive heart failure. Its the most common diagnosis in hospitalized patients over age 65. One in nine deaths has heart failure as a contributing cause.
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Can Congestive Heart Failure Be Corrected
Unfortunately, it is not possible to completely reverse congestive heart failure. Surgery is generally not a viable option, and your dogs vet will likely recommend ways to treat the symptoms only, which will give your dog some relief. Some of these treatments may also slow the progression of congestive heart failure, possibly extending your dogs life.
Heart Disease Starts Early In Life
In the 1950s autopsies looking at the vascular health of young men killed in the Korean War, uncovered that by a very young age, their early 20s, the process of blood vessel damage was well underway as a result of the typical American diet.
The stresses on the heart that culminates in life threatening disease processes were already well under way. With the regular consumption of high animal protein and high animal fat diets, young Americans were sitting time bombs for later cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, stroke and potentially congestive heart failure.
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What Are The 4 Stages Of Heart Failure
There are four stages of heart failure – stage A, B, C and D – which range from high risk of developing heart failure to advanced heart failure.
The four stages of heart failure are different to the four classes of heart failure symptoms also described in New York Heart Association , which illustrates the severity of symptoms, ranging from class one to the most severe, which is class four .