The Earliest Symptoms Of Heart Failure Are Often Very Subtle But It’s Dangerous To Ignore Them
It’s an unfortunate truth that your body slows down in your sixth and seventh decades. Climbing a flight of stairs that you once took two at a time can now feel as daunting as scaling Mount Everest. While some degree of vitality loss can be attributed to natural aging, fatigue and breathlessness may also be signals that your heart is not functioning as well as it should. “There is a general tendency for people to ignore heart failure symptoms and attribute them to just getting older. Therefore, it was very important for us to create an easy way to identify those symptoms,” says Dr. Mandeep R. Mehra, medical director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Final Thoughts On Heart Failure In Dogs
Heart failure in dogs is a serious condition that requires extensive care.
Your veterinarian can help you through this process but eventually your dog will pass away with this condition.
Be sure you watch for the signs of heart failure to really understand where your pup may be in this process.
Review the information that we discussed above so you can better understand the stages of your dogs condition going forward.
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 12 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience Ive gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! More About Us
Our Favorite Apps And Gadgets
This app can help you to keep track of your liquid intake to avoid excess fluid buildup, which can lead to complications. You can also track your weight, since sudden increases in weight can be due to water retention. Another great thing about this app is that it alerts you if your blood pressure or weight gets high enough that you should tell your doctor. It also allows you to send reports on your fluid intake and weight to your healthcare provider.
This app, developed in partnership with the Heart Failure Society of America, is your one-stop shop for recording symptoms, vital signs, and medications to help you manage congestive heart failure. You can also track your information and keep a journal to maintain wellness and emotional health.
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What Are The Treatments For Heart Failure
Your treatment will depend on the type of heart failure you have and how serious it is. There’s no cure for heart failure. But treatment can help you live longer with fewer symptoms.
Even with treatment, heart failure usually gets worse over time, so you’ll likely need treatment for the rest of your life.
Most treatment plans include:
You may need heart surgery if:
- You have a congenital heart defect or damage to your heart that can be fixed.
- The left side of your heart is getting weaker and putting a device in your chest could help. Devices include:
- A biventricular pacemaker .
- A mechanical heart pump or a total artificial heart).
As part of your treatment, you’ll need to pay close attention to your symptoms, because heart failure can worsen suddenly. Your provider may suggest a cardiac rehabilitation program to help you learn how to manage your condition.
What Causes Heart Failure
Although the risk of heart failure doesnt change as you get older, youre more likely to have heart failure when youre older.
Many medical conditions that damage the heart muscle can cause heart failure. Common conditions include:
- Tobacco and recreational drug use.
- Medications. Some drugs used to fight cancer can lead to heart failure.
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The Signs Of A Dog Dying Of Heart Failure
If your dog is in the final stages of their heart failure, you may be curious about the typical signs of a dog suffering in their CHF.
To help you make the best decision for your furry friend, lets list some of the signs of a dog dying from their heart failure.
- Frequent coughing
- Coughing up foam, or bloody foam
- Labored breathing
- Weakness, or inability to exercise
- Fainting episodes
- Blue, purple, or muddy gums
- Constant panting
If your dog is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be time to discuss quality of life with your veterinarian.
Life Expectancy With Congestive Heart Failure
The life expectancy of someone with congestive heart failure depends on the type of heart failure, the cause, the stage of the disease, and how effective treatment is.
When heart failure results from cardiomyopathy or coronary artery disease, a person typically has a less positive outlook than someone with heart failure in its earliest stage.
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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.
When Should I Get Emergency Care
Go to the ER or call 911 if you have:
- New, unexplained, and severe chest pain that comes with shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, or weakness
- Fast heart rate , especially if you are short of breath
- Shortness of breath that doesn’t get better if you rest
- Sudden weakness, or you can’t move your arms or legs
- Sudden, severe headache
- Fainting spells
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Precipitating Causes Of Heart Failure
A previously stable, compensated patient may develop heart failure that is clinically apparent for the first time when the intrinsic process has advanced to a critical point, such as with further narrowing of a stenotic aortic valve or mitral valve. Alternatively, decompensation may occur as a result of the failure or exhaustion of the compensatory mechanisms but without any change in the load on the heart in patients with persistent, severe pressure or volume overload. In particular, consider whether the patient has underlying coronary artery disease or valvular heart disease.
The most common cause of decompensation in a previously compensated patient with heart failure is inappropriate reduction in the intensity of treatment, such as dietary sodium restriction, physical activity reduction, or drug regimen reduction. Uncontrolled hypertension is the second most common cause of decompensation, followed closely by cardiac arrhythmias . Arrhythmias, particularly ventricular arrhythmias, can be life threatening. Also, patients with one form of underlying heart disease that may be well compensated can develop heart failure when a second form of heart disease ensues. For example, a patient with chronic hypertension and asymptomatic LV hypertrophy may be asymptomatic until an MI develops and precipitates heart failure.
- Profound anemia
- Nutritional deficiencies
How Long Will I Live With Heart Failure
The congestive heart failure lifespan depends on many variables, such as the cause of heart failure, its severity, and other comorbidities.The survival rates for those affected in the general population are:
- 5-years: 51.5% and
- 10-years: 29.5%.
There are 6 million people alive in the US that suffer from this disease, and almost 1 million in the UK. The data shown above tells us that only a half of these people will survive the next 5 years.
A heart transplant, being the ultimate treatment for such a disease, prolongs the estimated survival. 20 years after a transplant, around21% of patients are still alive.
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Reduced Risk Of Death From Any Cause With Pet Ownership
Given that the general population has a 24% lower risk of death due to any cause and heart attack survivors who live alone have a 33% lower risk of death due to heart attack, it is not surprising that owning a dog has a link to cardiovascular disease. Although pet ownership appears to have a protective effect on CVD risk, the mechanism by which it does so is still unclear. Furthermore, it should be noted that dogs with congestive heart failure have a median survival time of 6 to 14 months, but some may live for nearly three years if properly treated.
New Moms And Heart Failure Risk
The research supports the notion that at-risk women need closer observation during that time period.
The researchers also say that because many women are discharged from hospital care just a couple of days after giving birth and arent given a follow-up appointment until about six weeks later, the way doctors regard women who might be at risk of heart failure needs to change.
They call for comprehensive postpartum discharge health education, with emphasis on signs and symptoms to look for and when or where to seek immediate care.
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Is There A Treatment For Heart Failure
There are more treatment options available for heart failure than ever before. Tight control over your medications and lifestyle, coupled with careful monitoring, are the first steps. As the condition progresses, doctors specializing in the treatment of heart failure can offer more advanced treatment options.
The goals of treating heart failure are to try to keep it from getting worse , to ease symptoms, and to improve quality of life.
Some common types of medicines used to treat it are:
- Aldosterone antagonists
- Selective sinus node inhibitors
- SGLT2 inhibitor
Your doctor may also recommend a program called cardiac rehabilitation to help you exercise safely and keep up a heart-healthy lifestyle. It usually includes workouts that are designed just for you, education, and tips to lower your chance of heart trouble, like quitting smoking or changing your diet.
Cardiac rehab also offers emotional support. You can meet people like you who can help you stay on track.
Treatment And Medication Options For Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure is a chronic condition, and there is no cure. However, once youve been diagnosed, there are several things you can do to treat the condition and manage it so that it does not progress. Chief among them are lifestyle changes. That includes exercising and maintaining a heart-healthy diet thats low in saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol.
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Can Heart Failure Be Prevented
You may be able to prevent or delay heart failure if you:
- Work with your provider to manage any health conditions that increase your risk of developing heart failure
- Make healthy changes in your eating, exercise, and other daily habits to help prevent heart disease
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Doctor’s Notes On Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure refers to a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump blood sufficiently to meet all the bodys needs for oxygen. The inability of the heart to pump sufficiently ultimately causes fluid to leak from capillary blood vessels, causing many of the characteristic symptoms. Any disease that can weaken the heart can cause congestive heart failure. Some of the more common causes are:
Fluid buildup in the lungs is known as pulmonary edema, which leads to shortness of breath. Other associated symptoms include:
- problems sleeping when reclining.
What Is the Treatment for Congestive Heart Failure ?
The treatment for congestive heart failure is to some extent dependent upon the cause of the heart failure and usually involves a combination of different medications, which may include:
- Diuretics to control fluid buildup
- Medications to control blood pressure, including angiotensin converting inhibitors , beta-blockers, androgen receptor-2 blockers, or others
- Medication to strengthen the hearts activity such as digoxin
- Vericiguat , which a type of drug known as an oral soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator
- Nitrate medications to control chest pain
- Blood-thinning medications to prevent clots
Some people, depending on the cause of their CHF, may require:
- Surgery to repair or replace heart valves
- Coronary bypass surgery
- Insertion of a pacemaker, ventricular assist devices
- Heart transplantation
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How Is Heart Failure Treated/managed
Treatment of heart failure depends on the underlying cause and this will direct the main treatment to prevent further deterioration. Heart failure can be cured if it has a treatable cause.
If the causes are due to coronary heart disease then the patient may require coronary stents or . If there is a heart valve cause, then the defective valve will need surgery to repair or replace the valve.
All heart failure patients will need:
- Lifestyle changes including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and stopping smoking and watching fluid intake and reduce alcohol consumption.
- Medicine a range of medicines can help many people need to take three to four different types which have evidence to show they strengthen the heart and improve prognosis. This includes beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, ARNI and SGLT2 inhibitors. Other medicines, such as diuretics, may be used to help with the symptoms.
In cases where patients are seen to be experiencing continued deteriorating heart function despite the best and optimal medication, the following may be considered:
- Cardiac resynchronising therapy In very severe heart failure conditions, a specialised type of pacemaker has shown to benefit and improve symptoms as well as prolonging life by resynchronising the contractility of the two main pumping chambers of the heart.
- Cardiac transplant If there is no scope for recovery and the condition deteriorates then in suitable patients, a heart transplant may be considered.
What Medications Should I Avoid If I Have Heart Failure
There are several different types of medications that are best avoided in those with heart failure including:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin or Aleve. For relief of aches, pains, or fever take Tylenol instead.
- Most calcium channel blockers
- Some nutritional supplements, such as salt substitutes, and growth hormone therapies
- Antacids that contain sodium
If youâre taking any of these drugs, discuss them with your doctor.
Itâs important to know the names of your medications, what theyâre used for, and how often and at what times you take them. Keep a list of your medications and bring them with you to each of your doctor visits. Never stop taking your medications without discussing it with your doctor. Even if you have no symptoms, your medications decrease the work of your heart so that it can pump more effectively.
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What Are The Symptoms
Some are easy to confuse with normal aging or other diseases. The more advanced your heart failure, the more likely you are to have many symptoms, or the changes that youâve noticed in yourself will worsen.
These are common ways that heart failure can affect you:
Shortness of breath. Heart failure can make it hard to breathe when you walk up a flight of stairs. With advanced heart failure, you may get winded in a shorter period of time, or you may have trouble even when youâre sitting still.
Sleep problems. Heart failure can make it hard to breathe or catch your breath when you lie in bed. You may have trouble nodding off to sleep, or you might wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air. Try sleeping while propped up on two or more pillows instead of lying flat. Advanced heart failure makes it even more likely youâll have trouble breathing when youâre at rest. That means your bedtime problems will probably get worse, too.
Coughing. You may already have a dry cough that acts up when youâre lying in bed. You might cough often during the day, and your phlegm could have a slight pink tint to it. That means thereâs a bit of blood in the gunk youâre coughing up. Advanced heart failure can make that cough worse, especially when youâre lying down.
Fatigue. Heart failure can make you feel worn out. Things that wouldnât have tired you out in the past suddenly do. Youâre more likely to feel tired all of the time with advanced heart failure.
In All Heart Failure Patients
The 2016 ESC guidelines recognize the importance of ECG in the diagnosis and prognosis of HF patients. The guidelines recommend ECG to all HF patients at presentation to assess potential etiology, inform appropriate therapy, and predict cardiac events . The guidelines also indicate that normal ECG findings are unlikely in HF patients . In support of these recommendations, current data on some ECG parameters including QRS duration, T wave, ST-segment elevation, and/or depression at presentation strongly support their ability in predicting cardiac events and clinical outcomes in HF patients .
Other significant ECG parameters on admission that can predict cardiac events in HF patients include QTc duration, changes in ST segment, low voltage, and Q waves. Admission ECG done on 246 consecutive HF patients demonstrate that QTc peak duration is a significant multivariate predictor of a composite endpoint of cardiac events, rehospitalization, or death . The prognostic value of the presence of atrial fibrillation in HF patients has been known for decades in a cohort of patients admitted with acute HF and were followed for 30 days with regard to cardiac events, those patients with an event had a significantly higher incidence of atrial fibrillation on admission ECG as compared to those without .
Kyung U. Hong, Roberto Bolli, in, 2016
K. Ono, in, 2017
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