Check With Your Doctor
If you have a breathing problem, you need to see a doctor. They will examine you and may want to check your blood or do other tests to find out whatâs going on.
You might want to make notes about how you feel and bring them to your appointment. That way, you wonât forget the important details. You may also want to write down some questions youâd like to ask the doctor. The more your doctor knows, the better.
What Are The Types Of Heart Failure
Systolic dysfunction happens when the heart muscle doesn’t contract with enough force, so there is less oxygen-rich blood pumped throughout the body.
Diastolic dysfunction happens when the heart contracts normally, but the ventricles donât relax properly or are stiff, and less blood enters the heart during normal filling.
A calculation done during an echocardiogram, called the ejection fraction , is used to measure how well your heart pumps with each beat to help determine if systolic or diastolic dysfunction is present. Your doctor can discuss which condition you have.
Heart Failuresigns And Symptoms
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart fails to function properly. The terms “heart failure” and “congestive heart failure ” don’t mean that the heart has actually “failed” or stopped but mean one or more chambers of the heart “fail” to keep up with the volume of blood flowing through them.
Heart failure is brought on by a variety of underlying diseases and health problems.
Your condition may involve the left side, the right side or both sides of the heart. Each side has two chambers:
- An atrium or upper chamber
- A ventricle or lower chamber
Any one of these four chambers may not be able to keep up with the volume of blood flowing through it.
Two types of heart dysfunction can lead to heart failure, including:
- Systolic Heart Failure This is the most common cause of heart failure and occurs when the heart is weak and enlarged. The muscle of the left ventricle loses some of its ability to contract or shorten. In turn, it may not have the muscle power to pump the amount of oxygenated and nutrient-filled blood the body needs.
- Diastolic Failure The muscle becomes stiff and loses some of its ability to relax. As a result, the affected chamber has trouble filling with blood during the rest period that occurs between each heartbeat. Often the walls of the heart thicken, and the size of the left chamber may be normal or reduced.
What Causes Heart Failure
Heart failure is caused by many conditions that damage the heart muscle, including:
- Coronary artery disease.Coronary artery disease , a disease of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, causes decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. If the arteries become blocked or severely narrowed, the heart becomes starved for oxygen and nutrients.
- Heart attack. A heart attack happens when a coronary artery becomes suddenly blocked, stopping the flow of blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack damages the heart muscle, resulting in a scarred area that doesnât work the way it should.
- Cardiomyopathy. Damage to the heart muscle from causes other than artery or blood flow problems, such as from infections or alcohol or drug abuse.
- Conditions that overwork the heart. Conditions including high blood pressure, valve disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or heart defects present at birth can all cause heart failure. In addition, heart failure can happen when several diseases or conditions are present at once.
Fluid In The Lungs Can Be A Really Severe Condition So It’s Vital To Find Out Its Causes Symptoms And Treatments To Prevent Or Heal This Condition
The lungs are located within the chest, just under the rib cage. They are critical for breathing in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. Compared to other organs in the chest, the lungs are considered relatively large. They are located on either side of the heart in two cavities. Although at first glance the two cavities look identical, the right cavity is made up of three lobes and the left cavity is made up of two lobes. Each of the lobes is composed of clusters of alveoli or air sacs, which is where the gases are exchanged and then oxygen is taken up by the bloodstream for transport throughout the body.
The process of breathing is continuous provided if the alveoli are intact and functioning normally. However, the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, also called pulmonary edema, compromises the lung’s ability to uptake oxygen and to expel carbon dioxide. Pulmonary edema is a medical condition that is characterized by the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the lungs, inflammation of the lungs, and difficulty breathing. This article will explore the symptoms, causes and treatment strategies for pulmonary edema.
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Stages Of Heart Failure
In 2001, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology described the “Stages of Heart Failure.” These stages, which were updated in 2005, will help you understand that heart failure is often a progressive condition and can worsen over time. They will also help you understand why a new medication was added to your treatment plan and may help you understand why lifestyle changes and other treatments are needed.
The stages classified by the AHA and ACC are different than the New York Heart Association clinical classifications of heart failure that rank patients as class I-II-III-IV, according to the degree of symptoms or functional limits. Ask your doctor what stage of heart failure you are in.
Check the table below to see if your therapy matches what the AHA and ACC recommend. Note that you cannot go backward in stage, only forward.
The table below outlines a basic plan of care that may or may not apply to you, based on the cause of your heart failure and your special needs. Ask your doctor to explain therapies that are listed if you do not understand why you are or are not receiving them.
The New York Heart Association clinical classifications of heart failure rank people as class I-II-III-IV, according to the degree of symptoms or functional limits. You can ask your doctor if you want to know what stage of heart failure youâre in.
Quality Of Patient Care
Brigham and Womens Hospital is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our inpatient satisfaction survey, sent to patients to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and areas for improvement. We pride ourselves in the quality of patient care we provide and how we are measured compared with other hospitals.
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About Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure, sometimes called congestive cardiac failure , is a condition in which the heart muscle is weakened and cant pump as well as it usually does. The main pumping chambers of the heart can change size and thickness, and either cant contract or cant relax as well as they should. This triggers fluid retention, particularly in the lungs, legs and abdomen.
The major causes of heart failure include coronary heart disease and heart attack, high blood pressure, damage to the heart muscle , heart valve problems and abnormal heart rhythms. Of these, coronary heart disease and heart attack are the most common causes.
The major factors that contribute to coronary heart disease include:
- reduced emotional and social wellbeing
- physical inactivity.
Heart failure is more common in elderly people. The survival rate for people with this disorder depends on the severity of their condition.
What Is The Treatment For Congestive Heart Failure
The treatment of heart failure depends on the exact cause, but it can usually be treated effectively. The overall goals are to correct underlying causes, to relieve symptoms, and to prevent worsening of the condition. Symptoms are relieved by removing excess fluid from the body, improving blood flow, improving heart muscle function, and increasing delivery of oxygen to the body tissues. This can be done by the various congestive heart failure treatments listed in this sections.
If the underlying cause of heart failure is not correctable by surgery or catheterization procedures, medical treatment is composed of lifestyle changes and medications.
When Dialysis Is An Option
Recent research suggests that people with advanced heart failure who no longer respond well to diuretics may benefit from a procedure called peritoneal dialysis, which can be done at home. A tube called a catheter is inserted into your abdomen, and a sterile cleansing fluid gets pumped in. Its later drained through the tube, carrying excess fluids out with it. One method requires the procedure be done up to five times a day the other method, which is machine-assisted, works overnight as you sleep.
What Happens In Congestive Heart Failure
The heart has two upper chambers and two lower chambers . Normally, blood:
But in heart failure, the heart cant work as it should and not enough blood and oxygen get to the organs. And blood backs up in the heart and then into the lungs.
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Can You Prevent Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure can be the ultimate result of a number of diseases, or lifestyle choices, that damage the heart. Some of these can be prevented. Others cannot be prevented but can be treated successfully.
Some examples of illnesses or lifestyle choices that can lead to congestive heart failure are as follows:
- Coronary heart disease , including heart attack
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Congenital heart disease
- Damage to the heart valves
In some cases, a family history of heart failure can be present. Many cases are a combination of factors, and in other cases, the cause is unknown.
If a person has congestive heart failure, they are at increased risk of developing pneumonia. They probably should receive both the pneumonia vaccination and annual flu shots. Patients should ask their doctor or other health care professional to be sure.
How To Fluid In The Lungs Due To Congestive Heart Failure
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How The Lungs And Heart Work Together
When oxygen is inhaled, it travels through the lungs and into the bloodstream. The blood then travels to the heart where it is pumped to the rest of the body. If your blood isnt receiving enough oxygen from your lungs, the heart has to work harder to pump enough oxygen throughout the body. Overworking the heart for an extended period of time will wear it out more quickly. This is why many lung disease sufferers experience heart problems as the disease progresses.
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What To Know About Salt
Its critical that you pay attention to how much salt you consume, because salt encourages your body to retain fluids. In fact, overindulging in chips or other high sodium food can cause a fluid buildup your pills cant handle. Next stop, the hospital. There, youll start by receiving intravenous versions of your medications. But if your heart does not work well enough at that point, doctors may try another option: inotropes. These drugs help increase your heart function. Theyre not great long-term solutions, but in the short term, they work to remove fluid in most cases, says Dr. Yarlagadda.
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Heart Failure Treatment Is A Team Effort
Heart failure management is a team effort, and you are the key player on the team. Your heart doctor will prescribe your medications and manage other medical problems. Other team members — including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, exercise specialists, and social workers — will help you achieve success. But it is up to YOU to take your medications, make dietary changes, live a healthy lifestyle, keep your follow-up appointments, and be an active member of the team.
If you notice anything unusual, don’t wait until your next appointment to discuss it with your doctor. Call them right away if you have:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Swelling in your ankles, feet, legs, or belly that gets worse
- Shortness of breath that gets worse or happens more often, especially if you wake up feeling that way
- Bloating with a loss of appetite or nausea
- Extreme fatigue or more trouble finishing your daily activities
- A lung infection or a cough that gets worse
- Fast heart rate
- New irregular heartbeat
Center For Advanced Heart Failure/cardiomyopathy At Brigham And Womens Hospital
The Center for Advanced Heart Failure/Cardiomyopathy, an integral part of the Heart & Vascular Center at Brigham and Womens Hospital , brings together heart failure experts, including cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, cardiovascular imaging specialists, congenital heart disease specialists, and many others, to care for patients as one team. Together, the team tailors therapies to each patients needs, offering the latest medical, interventional, and surgical approaches to congestive heart failure treatment.
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What Is Heart Failure
Heart failure doesnât mean the heart has stopped working. Rather, it means that the heart works less efficiently than normal. Due to various possible causes, blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate, and pressure in the heart increases. As a result, the heart canât pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs.
The chambers of the heart may respond by stretching to hold more blood to pump through the body or by becoming stiff and thickened. This helps to keep the blood moving, but the heart muscle walls may eventually weaken and become unable to pump as efficiently. The kidneys may respond by causing the body to retain fluid and salt. If fluid builds up in the arms, legs, ankles, feet, lungs, or other organs, the body becomes congested. Congestive heart failure is the term used to describe the condition.
What Are The Causes Of Congestive Heart Failure
Typically, individuals suffer from congestive heart failure due to lifestyle factors. To remain healthy, people have to work out regularly and maintain an active lifestyle. A balanced diet is also necessary for good physical health.
Diets high in fried food, fats and oils can cause higher cholesterol and thickening of the arteries. In addition to these causes, some cases of congestive heart failure are caused by genetic problems or an underlying medical condition.
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How Does Congestive Heart Failure Cause Water Retention
As the circulatory system weakens, the blood veins are unable to transport oxygen and nutrients to the tissue. At the same time, they are unable to remove toxins and fluid. This directly causes fluid retention.
Indirectly, water retention is also caused by the inability of the kidneys to process all of the added toxins. Due to these causes, individuals may suddenly develop water retention in their ankles, legs and abdomen.
Bloating in the stomach can lead to nausea. Overall, the symptoms of water retention include weight gain and increased urination.
Is It Normal For The Liver To Be Enlarged
The liver is an essential organ in many of the bodys functions. An enlarged liver is swollen beyond its normal size for any reason. An enlarged liver is a symptom of an underlying problem, but is not a disease itself.
An enlarged liver is swollen beyond its normal size for any reason. An enlarged liver is a symptom of an underlying problem, but is not a disease itself. An enlarged liver may occur along with other symptoms, depending on the underlying disease that is causing it.
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How Is Heart Failure Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you many questions about your symptoms and medical history. Youâll be asked about any conditions you have that may cause heart failure . Youâll be asked if you smoke, take drugs, drink alcohol , and about what drugs you take.
Youâll also get a complete physical exam. Your doctor will listen to your heart and look for signs of heart failure as well as other illnesses that may have caused your heart muscle to weaken or stiffen.
Your doctor may also order other tests to determine the cause and severity of your heart failure. These include:
Other tests may be ordered, depending on your condition.
What Diet Plans Lifestyle Changes And Management Tips Help Treat Congestive Heart Failure Naturally
Lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor or other health care professional can help relieve symptoms, slow the progression of heart failure, and improve one’s quality of life. Lifestyle changes that may be helpful in preventing or relieving heart failure include those recommended by the American Heart Association and other organizations as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
- Once diagnosed and under the care of a qualified medical professional, patients can and should do several things at home to increase their comfort and reduce the chance of the condition getting worse.
- In fact, the more active role patients take in managing heart failure, the more likely they are to do well.
- Making the lifestyle changes described here will make a real difference. Not only will patients feel better, but they will increase their chances of a longer, healthier life.
Treat swelling with the following measures:
- Elevate the feet and legs if they are swollen.
- Eat a reduced-salt diet.
- Weigh in every morning before breakfast and record it in a diary that can be shown to a health care provider.
Avoid the following:
- Excessive emotional stress and/or depression
- High altitude
- Herbal or other complementary medicine without first consulting a doctor to see if they are safe
Patients with congestive heart failure should know the following information that may apply to their disease:
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