What Are The Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure
While heart failure has many notable symptoms, they may not always appear in its early stages. Why? Because your body attempts to compensate for your hearts shortcomings unfortunately making the problem worse. For example, your heart muscle will try to maintain its normal output of blood by growing larger and stronger. This works for a while, but it leads to increasing stiffness of the heart that is ultimately a progression of heart failure.
Eventually, significant symptoms will begin to develop. Still, different people experience heart failure differently. You could have severe heart failure with none of the following symptoms, or you could have less advanced disease and have many of the symptoms listed below. But, in general, for most people the worse their heart is functioning, the greater number of symptoms they experience, and the more pronounced those symptoms will feel.
Typical symptoms of heart failure include:
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure
Shortness of breath
The hallmark and most common symptom of left heart failure is shortness of breath and may occur:
Right heart failure, left heart failure, or both
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Before you pop a Tylenol and shrug off that head pain, know that severe headaches can be symptomatic of a stroke or blood clot, too, says Goldenberg. While a headache alone isnât necessarily indicative of a heart issue, if youâre experiencing it along with other symptoms like stiffness in your neck, fatigue, or dizziness, or it comes on suddenly, you could be in danger of an aneurysm and should seek medical attention.
We asked a hot doc how to treat a headache without meds. Here is what he said:
This might be the hardest sign to decipher because there are a million reasons you might feel tiredlack of sleep, stress, etc. But here weâre talking an abnormal level of fatigue. âIf youâre relatively fit and all of a sudden start feeling winded climbing a flight of stairs, thereâs a problem,â says Goldberg. Another sign: If youâre feeling a level of weakness that youâd previously only experienced when sick with the flu. In this case, your heart may be struggling to oxygenate your body.
While this symptom is easy to dismiss, particularly for women who refuse to slow down, it should be a red flag if youâre experiencing it along with any other strange symptoms.
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Cardiac Rehabilitation Can Be Life
Cardiac rehabilitation is a customized program for recovery in people who have experienced heart conditions such as heart attack or heart failure.
The Mayo Clinic supports that cardiac rehabilitation can lower your risk of death from heart disease and also lower the risk of developing future heart problems.
Cardiac rehabilitation involves a comprehensive evaluation by a doctor to assess your current status and needs, developing an exercise regimen suited for your abilities and health status, counseling and education about your condition and ways to manage heart failure, and support to help your resume your normal responsibilities.
A team of primary care doctors, cardiologists, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, and social workers work together to develop a plan for you.
Is Chf Due Mainly To Heart Valve Disease
CHF is most commonly caused by valvular insufficiency. It is estimated that 80% of the canine CHF cases are caused by MVI. However, there are many other causes. Disease of the heart muscle , irregularities of rhythm, and narrowing of some of the major blood vessels can also cause CHF. Initially, MVI results in left-sided congestive heart failure. If left untreated, the heart failure may progress to involve both sides of the heart.
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What Is The Outlook For People With Heart Failure
With the right care, heart failure may not stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis or outlook for the future will depend on how well your heart muscle is functioning, your symptoms, and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan.
Everyone with a long-term illness, such as heart failure, should discuss their desires for extended medical care with their doctor and family. An “advance directive” or “living will” is one way to let everyone know your wishes. A living will expresses your desires about the use of medical treatments to prolong your life. This document is prepared while you are fully competent in case you are unable to make these decisions at a later time.
How To Help Prevent Kidney Disease When You Have Diabetes
Kidney Disease Edema can occur because the disease leads to extra fluid and sodium in the circulatory system, which then builds up pressure in the blood vessels and leads to swelling. Kidney disease can cause edema in multiple areas.
Kidney Damage Nephrotic syndrome which occurs when the small filtering blood vessels in the kidneys dont work properly and allow protein to be lost in the urine can result. This causes a declining level of protein in the blood, which can lead to fluid accumulation and edema.
Liver Cirrhosis A scarring of the liver tissue, it can lead to abdominal edema. This happens because cirrhosis causes a lack of proteins in the liver, which can lead to increased pressure in the blood vessels and fluid seeping into the abdomen.
Severe Lung Conditions Conditions such as emphysema can lead to edema if pressure in the lungs and heart gets too high.
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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.
Medications For Heart Failure
Certain medications can help treat heart failure and its underlying cause:
- Aldosterone blockers block the effects of the hormone aldosterone, encouraging the body to release sodium and water. They also help prevent scarring in the heart.
- Angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor : Treatment with sacubitril-valsartan reduces excess fluid in the body and relaxes blood vessels. This makes it easier for your heart to pump blood. Alternatives to ARNIs include angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors andangiotensin receptor blockers .
- Beta blockers make the heart beat more slowly and with less force. They also help keep heart rhythm regular.
- Sodium-glucose transport protein 2 inhibitors are diabetes drugs that have recently been found to be very beneficial in heart failure. They help remove glucose via the kidneys into the urine.
Other medications can relieve the heart failure symptoms:
- Diuretics reduce the amount of fluid in the body.
- Vasodilators dilate the blood vessels and reduce the hearts workload.
- Digoxin helps the heart beat stronger with a more regular rhythm.
- Anti-arrhythmics control arrhythmia and maintain normal heart rhythm.
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How Is Congestive Heart Failure Treated
Doctors will assess the current health status of the patient to establish a baseline, and develop a long-term health plan. This may involve the optimization of medicines and therapies, adding new medication, or possibly enrollment in a clinical trial.
Stabilizing and/or reversing a patients condition often involves long-term, collaborative follow-up with a referring cardiologist or physician.
In serious situations, advanced therapies, which include mechanical solutions, a heart transplant, or hospice, may be offered.
What Is Congestive Heart Failure Anyway
Just like you learned in biology class, your heart is a smallbut powerfulpump that constantly circulates oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to every nook and cranny of the body. Once the good stuff is delivered and the toxins are filtered out by the kidneys and liver, the heart brings the blood back around to receive a fresh load of oxygen, and the process begins again.
However, when something interferes with your hearts ability to pump efficiently, it causes a systemwide slowdown. Blood and other fluids start to back up and collect in your veins and lungsthis is the congestive partmaking it even harder for your heart to do its job. You may feel shortness of breath, or notice swelling in your legs or arms, when this starts to happen.
This type of heart failure affects 6.5 million Americans, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Its a chronic and progressive condition, but there are plenty of treatment options that can ease symptoms and help your heart work with less strain. And while theres no skirting around the seriousness of this condition, don’t give up hope for a better tomorrow.
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Living Well With Heart Failure
The Heart Foundation has developed a range of resources for people living with heart failure, and their families and carers.
- Living well with heart failure booklet, which includes information about what to do when you feel sick, managing symptoms, and monitoring your fluid and salt intake.
- Living well with heart failure video series, which includes seven videos covering topics to help you manage your condition. The series is available in a range of languages.
- Heart failure fact sheet, which includes questions to ask your health professional and what changes you might need to make to your daily life.
- Heart failure action plan, which helps you to identify the most important parts of your heart failure management to focus on right now.
Access these resources on the Heart Foundation website.
Surgery For Heart Failure
Your doctor may recommend surgery to implant a medical device that helps the heart function more effectively:
- Pacemaker, which maintains a steady heart beat in people with a slow or irregular heartbeat
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator , which monitors the heart for fast rhythm and delivers an electrical shock to reset normal rhythm
- Left ventricular assist device , which takes over the pumping action of the heart
People with advanced heart failure may be candidates for heart transplantation. A heart transplant replaces the diseased heart with a donated heart from a person who has died.
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Do Dogs Have Heart Attacks
In humans a heart attack usually refers to myocardial infarction . Myocardial infarction refers to death of the cells in an area of the heart muscle or myocardium. Cell death is usually due to oxygen deprivation caused by obstruction of the coronary blood vessels that supply blood to the heart muscles. Heart attacks are rare in dogs but unexpected and sudden death in dogs diagnosed with any form of heart disease is possible.
What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure CHF can be confused with other illnesses that cause breathing difficulties, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, and asthma. Talking to a medical professional, along with receiving a physical exam and tests available only at a medical office or hospital, are necessary to make an definitive diagnosis. Some of the most useful tests are mentioned below.
Chest X-ray: This is very helpful in identifying the buildup of fluid in the lungs. Also, the heart usually enlarges in congestive heart failure, and this may be visible on the X-ray film. In addition, other disorders may be diagnosed.
- An electrocardiogram is a painless test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. For this test, which takes just a few minutes, one lies on a table with electrodes attached to the skin of the chest, arms, and legs. The ECG can reveal several different heart problems that can cause heart failure, including heart attacks, rhythm disorders, long-standing strain on the heart from high blood pressure, and certain valve problems.
- However, the ECG result may be normal in heart failure.
Blood tests: People may have blood drawn for lab tests.
Echocardiogram : This is a type of ultrasound that shows the beating of the heart and the various cardiac structures. It is safe, painless, and one of the most important tests for diagnosing and following patients with heart failure over time.
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Which Lifestyle Changes Can Improve Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms
You know the drill: Move your body more, eat and sleep well, tackle obesity, quit smoking. But were going to detail them here, anyway, because if you have congestive heart failure, doing all these things to the very best of your ability is just that important.
Physical activity, however much you are able to do, can lower your blood pressure levels and heart rate even as it improves your breathing. You may have some limitations depending on your current state of health, so speak with your doctor, who may recommend you enroll in cardiac rehabilitation to develop a custom exercise program for you.
Your goal? To get rid of all that dangerous fluid buildup. To do so, radically reduce your salt intake by eliminating processed foods loaded with sodium, like frozen dinners and packaged cold cuts. Then, make a point of cooking at homeusing healthy oils like olive or canolawhere youre in full control of the salt shaker. The American Heart Association recommends you stack your daily plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and fish, nuts and legumes, and low-fat dairy products. You might consider consulting a nutritionist, who can suggest a wide range of delicious and nutritious recipes to try. And dont think of it as a dietthink of it as a new way of life, one that will help lower unhealthy high cholesterol levels, too.
How Can I Improve My Quality Of Life With Heart Failure
There are several things you can do to improve your quality of life if you have heart failure. Among them:
- Eat a healthy diet. Limit your consumption of sodium to less than 1,500 milligrams each day. Eat foods high in fiber. Limit foods high in trans fat, cholesterol, and sugar. Reduce total daily intake of calories to lose weight if necessary.
- Exercise regularly. A regular cardiovascular exercise program, prescribed by your doctor, will help improve your strength and make you feel better. It may also decrease heart failure progression.
- Don’t overdo it. Plan your activities and include rest periods during the day. Certain activities, such as pushing or pulling heavy objects and shoveling may worsen heart failure and its symptoms.
- Prevent respiratory infections. Ask your doctor about flu and pneumonia vaccines.
- Take your medications as prescribed. Do not stop taking them without first contacting your doctor.
- Get emotional or psychological support if needed. Heart failure can be difficult for your whole family. If you have questions, ask your doctor or nurse. If you need emotional support, social workers, psychologists, clergy, and heart failure support groups are a phone call away. Ask your doctor or nurse to point you in the right direction.
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Edema Related To Circulation Heart Or Liver Problems
A variety of diseases can cause edema. Most of the time, the edema is not a serious illness, but it may be a sign for one. Here are some examples:
Venous insufficiency can cause edema in the feet and ankles, because the veins are having trouble transporting enough blood all the way to the feet and back to the heart. This means that it gathers in the legs, and fluid is forced out of the blood vessels into the surrounding tissue. Edema can also be caused by varicose veins.
Congestive heart failure can cause both peripheral edema and abdominal edema . This is because the heart is too weak to pump blood around the body properly, so the blood gathers in front of the heart. Because of this, and due to the increased blood pressure in the veins, fluid seeps out into the surrounding tissue. This may cause swelling in the legs or a build-up of fluid in the abdomen. If the person spends a lot of time lying down, the edema might show up on his or her back . Congestive heart failure can also cause edema in the lungs . This is not common, but the condition is life-threatening. It means the lungs are filling with fluid because the left side of the heart is not strong enough to pump the blood returning from the lungs. The blood gathers in the blood vessels of the lung, and fluid seeps out into the lung tissue. The signs are shortness of breath and rapid, shallow breathing or coughing.
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