When To Call 911 For Heart Failure
- Chest discomfort or pain that lasts more than 15 minutes
- Severe or persistent shortness of breath
- Fainting or passing out
- A fast or irregular heartbeat, palpitations or a racing heart that does not go away
- A need to sleep sitting up on more pillows than usual
- Frothy or pink tinged sputum when coughing
Classes And Stages Of Heart Failure
If youre diagnosed with heart failure, your doctor may categorize the severity of your condition on one of two scales. This classification can help guide your treatment and recovery.
The New York Heart Association classification is a symptom-based scale. It classifies heart failure in one of four categories:
- Class 1. You dont experience any symptoms at any time.
- Class 2. You can perform daily activities with ease, but feel fatigued or winded when you exert yourself.
- Class 3. You have difficulty completing daily activities.
- Class 4. You feel short of breath even when youre at rest.
The American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association classification is a stage-based system. Its used to classify your risk for or level of heart failure. The letters A to D convey the stage that youre in:
- Stage A. You have one or more risk factors for heart failure, but you arent experiencing any symptoms.
- Stage B. You have heart disease, but you dont have any signs or symptoms of heart failure.
- Stage C. You have heart disease, and youre experiencing signs or symptoms of heart failure.
- Stage D. You have advanced heart failure that requires specialized treatments.
Doctors often use these two classification systems together to determine the best treatment or prevention plan for you.
Providence Cardiology Specialist Scott Werden Says Treatment Options Include Medication And Lifestyle Changes
Like so many diagnoses, the words pack an emotional wallop: Congestive heart failure.
While the phrase may sound like a death sentence, the good news is that many people whose hearts are considered to be failing can make a virtually complete recovery.
The phrase congestive heart failure is not a pronouncement of imminent death, but a clinical term to describe poor functioning of the mechanics of the heart. As the American College of Cardiology puts it, it is a problem with how your heart pumps.
It is a scary term, agrees Scott Werden, D.O., a cardiology specialist who practices in Olympia and Shelton, Washington, with Providence Medical Group Cardiology Associates. But, he says, You can have an absolutely complete recovery from heart failure.
Dr. Werden says full recovery depends on a variety of things, such as how well a patient responds to medication. A minority of people with congestive heart failure require surgery, and some will never enjoy the high quality of life they did before their hearts failed. But many others will return to very nearly normal life and levels of activity, he says.
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What Is Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart doesnt pump as well as it should.
While the term “heart failure” may sound like the heart has stopped working, that isn’t actually the case. It still pumps, just inefficiently.
As a result, there’s a reduction in blood flow to the body and a backup of fluid into the lungs, liver, abdomen, and lower extremities.
Heart failure is a serious condition that is often the end stage or final outcome of many cardiovascular conditions, according to the American Heart Association .
While there’s no cure for heart failure, medication and healthy lifestyle changes can help manage the condition and allow people to maintain a good quality of life.
Other Causes Of Heart Failure
Pulmonary hypertension and heart failure
Heart failure can be caused by pulmonary hypertension . This condition can damage the right side of your heart, leading to heart failure. In some cases, the pulmonary hypertension itself is caused by an existing heart condition.
Amyloidosis happens when abnormal proteins, called amyloid, build up in organs and tissues. This affects how your organs work. If amyloidosis affects the heart it’s called cardiac amyloidosis or stiff heart syndrome and can lead to heart failure.
- Read more about amyloidosis treatment.
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You Don’t Have To Face Hf Alone
The term heart failure makes it sound like the heart is no longer working at all and theres nothing that can be done. Actually, heart failure means that the heart isnt pumping as well as it should be. Congestive heart failure is a type of heart failure that requires seeking timely medical attention, although sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably.
Your body depends on the hearts pumping action to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the bodys cells. When the cells are nourished properly, the body can function normally.With heart failure, the weakened heart cant supply the cells with enough blood. This results in fatigue and shortness of breath and some people have coughing. Everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying groceries can become very difficult.
Heart failure is a term used to describe a heart that cannot keep up with its workload. The body may not get the oxygen it needs.
Heart failure is a serious condition, and usually theres no cure. But many people with heart failure lead a full, enjoyable life when the condition is managed with heart failure medications and healthy lifestyle changes. Its also helpful to have the support of family and friends who understand your condition.
Manage Your Condition With An App
When you have heart failure, managing your condition and health can feel like a lot of work. A smartphone app can help you keep track of your medications, appointments, symptoms, and your state of mind. The Heart Failure Society of America has a free app called Heart Failure Storylines, and there are many others too.
A 2018 study reviewed 18 previous reports on mobile health apps for heart failure. The study authors noted a general trend that suggested the apps made a difference to people who used them. They also reported that the apps were cost-effective and promoted people being engaged in their own care.
Making heart-healthy food choices is an important aspect of managing heart failure. Your doctor may recommend that you see a dietitian to help you find a meal plan that works for you.
Two widely recommended diets for people living with heart failure are the
2017 review indicated that both diets, and especially the DASH plan, might be helpful for people with heart failure. The authors recommended further research on the Mediterranean diet, and noted that the DASH plan may provide benefits such as improved cardiac function.
If you dont want to stick to a specific diet, another option is to focus on making heart-healthy choices on a regular basis. The American Heart Association advises people to follow a couple key principles.
In general, youll want to focus on:
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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 .
Ejection Fraction And Its Importance
Ejection Fraction is a key indicator of a healthy heart and is frequently used by physicians to determine how well your heart is functioning as a pump. Ejection fraction is the percentage of blood that is pumped out of the heart during each beat. In a healthy heart, 50-75 percent of the blood is pumped out during each beat. Many people with heart disease pump out less than 50% and many people with Heart Failure pump out less than 40%.
Ejection Fraction is one of the many ways doctors classify the type and severity of Heart Failure and damage to the heart muscle.
Ejection Fraction ranges
- An Ejection Fraction above 50% indicates that your heart is pumping normally and is able to deliver an adequate supply of blood to your body and brain.
- An Ejection Fraction that falls below 50% could indicate that the heart is no longer pumping efficiently and is not able to meet the bodys needs.
- An Ejection Fraction of 35% or less indicates a weakened heart muscle. The heart is pumping poorly, which can significantly increase a persons risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
Measuring your Ejection Fraction
For Heart Failure patients, knowing your ejection fraction is just as important as knowing your blood pressure and your cholesterol. Ejection fraction is often measured using an echocardiogram, a simple and painless test often performed right in the doctors office. Ejection faction can also be measured with other tests including:
- Nuclear stress testing
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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.
What Is The Life Expectancy For An Elderly Person With Congestive Heart Failure
In a recent study, it was reported that patients hospitalized with moderate systolic heart failure faced a median expected survival time of 2.4 years if they were aged 71 to 80 years and 1.4 years if they were aged 80 years or more. In patients with more advanced systolic dysfunction, life expectancy was even shorter.
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Should I Still Call 999 Or Go To Hospital If I’m Worried About My Health
Whether or not you have coronavirus symptoms, it’s essential to dial 999 if you have symptoms that could be a heart attack, or if your heart symptoms get worse.
Dont delay because you think hospitals are too busy the NHS still has systems in place to treat people who need urgent heart treatment. If you delay, you are more likely to suffer serious heart damage and more likely to need intensive care and to spend longer in hospital.
You should dial 999 if you have possible heart attack symptoms or if you are having severe difficulty breathing, such as gasping for breath, choking, lips turning blue, or not being able to get words out. If you feel like youre struggling to manage your condition at home, contact your doctor or NHS 111.
How Can I Rebuild My Heart Health
7 powerful ways you can strengthen your heart Get moving. Your heart is a muscle and, as with any muscle, exercise is what strengthens it. Quit smoking. Quitting smoking is tough. Lose weight. Losing weight is more than just diet and exercise. Eat heart-healthy foods. Dont forget the chocolate. Dont overeat. Dont stress.
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Portion Out Your Fluids
Try to distribute your fluid consumption throughout your day. If you wake up and drink a bunch of coffee and water, you might not have much room for other fluids throughout the day.
Budget the 2,000 mL throughout your day. For example, have 500 mL for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This leaves with room for two 250 mL drinks between meals.
Work with your doctor to determine how much you need to restrict your fluid intake.
Complications Of Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure can lead to a number of complications that can influence the chance of survival, including:
- Rapid Weight Loss Severe heart failure can lead to an unintentional rapid loss of weight that can be life-threatening. Heart failure can cause blood to back up into the liver and intestines, causing these organs to swell. This swelling can lead to nausea and loss of appetite, and can prevent the body from absorbing nutrients from food.
- Impaired Kidney Function Congestive heart failure weakens the hearts ability to pump blood, reducing blood flow to the kidneys. This can lead to kidney damage or kidney failure if left untreated.
- Liver Damage Heart failure can cause fluid to build up on the liver, which can lead to scarring. This makes it more difficult for the liver to carry out its day-to-day functions.
- Arrhythmias Heart failure results in damaged heart muscles, which can lead to the development of an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart beat. Arrhythmias can include the heart beating too quickly, beating too slowly, or beating irregularly.
- Heart Valve Problems If the heart is enlarged due to heart failure, the valves of the heart, which ensure appropriate direction of blood flow through the organ, may not function properly.
- Angina and Heart Attack Heart disease is a major contributing factor in many heart failure cases, and people with congestive heart failure are at continued risk of angina and heart attack.
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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:
Other Causes Of Edema
Heart failure is not the only cause of swelling in the feet. Allergic reactions, burns, trauma, blood clots, or severe inflammation can cause edema as well.
Other causes can include:
- Gravity: If youve been sitting or standing in one place for too long, gravity gradually pulls the fluid in your body down to your legs and feet.
- Varicose veins:Veins in your legs cant get blood back up to your heart, causing blood to collect in your legs.
- Medications: Blood pressure or pain medications can cause swelling.
- High salt intake:You may not be aware that your sodium intake is high. Processed or packaged foods, olives, legumes, and cheese can have high amounts of sodium.
- Pregnancy: As the baby grows, the uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels in the lower half of your body.
- Thyroid disease: Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause edema.
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Does Heart Inflammation Go Away On Its Own
Heart inflammation is commonly caused by infections, including viruses or bacteria, although it may also occur in response to other factors, such as an autoimmune disease or certain medications. Mild cases may resolve on their own, but people may need medication or a medical procedure to alleviate the condition.
Common Causes Of Heart Failure
Heart failure is usually caused by another illness or disease. One of the most common is CAD or coronary artery disease where arteries become narrow and limit the hearts oxygen and blood supply. Some of the other possible causes of heart failure are due to other medical issues that may increase the risk of heart disease. These include alcohol abuse, drug misuse, chemotherapy, other cancer treatments, anemia, AIDS, HIV, a thyroid that is underactive or overactive, diabetes, emphysema, hypertension or high blood pressure, irregular rhythms also referred to as arrhythmias, heart valve disease, a heart attack, a heart defect that is congenital, and cardiomyopathy.
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Why A Cough May Be An Important Sign Of Heart Failure
For people with heart failurewhen the heart doesn’t pump blood like it shoulda long-term cough may indicate that treatment isn’t working as well as it needs to be. Sometimes referred to as a cardiac cough or heart cough, this condition may be a side effect of certain medications used to treat heart failure.
If you develop a cardiac cough, it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to figure out what’s causing it.
This article explores the symptoms and causes of a cardiac cough. It will also explain when you should reach out to your doctor.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Cardiac Cough
Verywell / Laura Porter
The symptoms of a cardiac cough will vary depending on the specific cause. Symptoms may include:
- A wet cough that produces sputum, or mucus, that may be slightly pink due to blood
- Heavy wheezing, or a whistling sound that happens while breathing, accompanied by coughing
- Shortness of breath while engaging in activities or lying down
- Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, a condition where you are awakened during sleep due to coughing and shortness of breath
- A bubbling feeling in the chest due to fluid buildup in lungs
- A long-term dry cough that doesn’t get better when treated
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