Causes Of Heart Failure
Heart failure is often the result of a number of problems affecting the heart at the same time.
Conditions that can lead to heart failure include:
- coronary heart disease where the arteries that supply blood to the heart become clogged up with fatty substances , which may cause angina or a heart attack
- high blood pressure this can put extra strain on the heart, which over time can lead to heart failure
- conditions affecting the heart muscle
- heart rhythm problems , such as atrial fibrillation
- damage or other problems with the heart valves
- congenital heart disease birth defects that affect the normal workings of the heart
Heart Attack Warning Signs
Heart attack is a leading cause of death in New Zealand. Learn to recognise the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack, so you know what to do if you see or experience them.
Minutes matter – if you think you are having a heart attack, call 111 now.
Too many New Zealanders die or live with permanent disability because of the lack of awareness of heart attack warning signs and delays in seeking medical help. Even if you have had a heart attack, you may experience another – and next time, the symptoms can be different
You Feel Dizzy Or Lightheaded
A lot of things can make you lose your balance or feel faint for a moment. Maybe you didnât have enough to eat or drink, or you stood up too fast.
But if you suddenly feel unsteady and you also have chest discomfort or shortness of breath, call a doctor right away.
It could mean your blood pressure has dropped because your heart isnt able to pump the way it should, Bufalino says.
Recommended Reading: Heart Attacks Young People
Outlook For Heart Failure
Heart failure is a serious long-term condition that will usually continue to get slowly worse over time.
It can severely limit the activities you’re able to do and is often eventually fatal.
But it’s very difficult to tell how the condition will progress on an individual basis.
It’s very unpredictable. Lots of people remain stable for many years, while in some cases it may get worse quickly.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Failure
There are various stages of heart failure, and each stage can present differently from person to person. For example, the first stage indicates you have known heart failure risk factors but dont have symptoms yet, while stage four means you may notice heart failure symptoms even when resting.
There is also acute heart failure or chronic heart failure . Chronic heart failure can be treated well with medical therapy, and you may not have any symptoms unless there is an acute problem, Joyce W. Wald, D.O., a cardiologist and professor of clinical medicine at Penn Medicine who specializes in heart failure, tells SELF. But acute heart failure will often cause symptoms until you get the proper treatment.
In fact, if you have a mild form of heart failure in an early stage, its common to not notice any warning signs unless youre doing something physically demanding, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . But if heart failure progresses and the organ becomes weaker, you may notice some signs that the condition is becoming worse. Here are the symptoms of heart failure cardiologists typically watch for:
If youre not getting enough blood flow in different areas of your body, you will have trouble working out, Dr. Wald explains. Excess fluid in your lungs can also make exercising feel especially difficult, she says.
Don’t Miss: Survival Rate Of Open Heart Surgery
What Are The Complications Of Heart Failure
Some of the complications from heart failure include:
- Irregular heartbeat.
- History of taking drugs that can damage your heart muscle, such as some cancer drugs.
Stage B is considered pre-heart failure. It means your healthcare provider has given you a diagnosis of systolic left ventricular dysfunction but youve never had symptoms of heart failure. Most people with Stage B heart failure have an echocardiogram that shows an ejection fraction of 40% or less. This category includes people who have heart failure and reduced EF due to any cause.
People with Stage C heart failure have a heart failure diagnosis and currently have or previously had signs and symptoms of the condition.
There are many possible symptoms of heart failure. The most common are:
- Shortness of breath.
- Need to urinate while resting at night.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats .
- A dry, hacking cough.
- A full or hard stomach, loss of appetite or upset stomach .
There may be times that your symptoms are mild or you may not have any symptoms at all. This doesn’t mean you no longer have heart failure. Symptoms of heart failure can range from mild to severe and may come and go.
Unfortunately, heart failure usually gets worse over time. As it worsens, you may have more or different signs or symptoms.Its important to let your doctor know if you have new symptoms or if your symptoms get worse.
Recognizing And Treating Heart Failure Sooner Rather Than Later May Slow Progression Of This Serious Condition
If you start feeling a bit more tired or winded than normal, its easy to write it off to growing older or being out of shape or overweight. But if these symptoms persist, dont ignore them especially if you also notice swelling in your ankles and difficulty breathing when you lie down.
These are all classic symptoms of early heart failure, which happens when the heart isnt able to pump effectively enough to deliver blood throughout the body . Recent developments in both detection and treatment may help ease the burden of heart failure, which is a leading cause of hospitalization in people 65 and older.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
- Research health conditions
- Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
You May Like: What Can Lower Your Heart Rate
What Can I Do To Recover After A Heart Attack
Take our quiz to see how much you know about cardiac rehabilitation.
If youve had a heart attack, your heart may be damaged. This could affect your hearts rhythm and its ability to pump blood to the rest of the body. You may also be at risk for another heart attack or conditions such as stroke, kidney disorders, and peripheral arterial disease .
You can lower your chances of having future health problems following a heart attack with these steps:
- Physical activityTalk with your health care team about the things you do each day in your life and work. Your doctor may want you to limit work, travel, or sexual activity for some time after a heart attack.
- Lifestyle changesEating a healthier diet, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, and managing stressin addition to taking prescribed medicinescan help improve your heart health and quality of life. Ask your health care team about attending a program called cardiac rehabilitation to help you make these lifestyle changes.
- Cardiac rehabilitationCardiac rehabilitation is an important program for anyone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problem that required surgery or medical care. Cardiac rehab is a supervised program that includes
- Physical activity
- Education about healthy living, including healthy eating, taking medicine as prescribed, and ways to help you quit smoking
- Counseling to find ways to relieve stress and improve mental health
What Is A Heart Attack
Heart attack signs and symptoms in men and women: Chest pain or discomfort Shortness of breath Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, arm, or shoulder Feeling nauseous, light-headed, or unusually tired.
A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, happens when a part of the heart muscle doesnt get enough blood.
The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle.
Coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm, or sudden contraction, of a coronary artery that can stop blood flow to the heart muscle.
Also Check: Low Heart Rate Sleeping
Recommended Reading: Cough Congestive Heart Failure
Treatments For Heart Failure
Treatment for heart failure usually aims to control the symptoms for as long as possible and slow down the progression of the condition.
How you’re treated will depend on what is causing your heart failure.
Common treatments include:
- lifestyle changes including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and stopping smoking
- medicine a range of medicines can help many people need to take 2 or 3 different types
- devices implanted in your chest these can help control your heart rhythm
- surgery such as a or a heart transplant
Treatment will usually be needed for life.
A cure may be possible when heart failure has a treatable cause. For example, if your heart valves are damaged, replacing or repairing them may cure the condition.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attack
The major symptoms of a heart attack are
- Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint. You may also break out into a cold sweat.
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.
- Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but shortness of breath also can happen before chest discomfort.
Other symptoms of a heart attack could include unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. Women are more likely to have these other symptoms. Learn more about women and heart disease.
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.1Learn more facts about heart attack and heart disease.
Read Also: How To Count Heart Rate On Ecg
Early And Subtle Symptoms Also Can Be Harbingers Of Worsening
For the more than 6 million Americans that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says have heart failure, a new report from heart health experts could provide an invaluable early warning.
The American Heart Association published new research in its medical journal Circulation on Thursday, listing some of the most common early heart failure symptoms individuals should look out for.
Specifically, the AHA listed symptoms associated with acute coronary syndrome, heart failure, valvular disorders, stroke, rhythm disorders, and peripheral vascular disease. Heart failure, generally speaking, happens when the organ simply can’t pump enough blood to the rest of the body but warning signs could increase the likelihood that patients could get ahead of the condition with medication, surgery or lifestyle changes.
“Early and subtle symptoms also can be harbingers of worsening and impending hospitalization or death,” the AHA said in its report.
Here’s a quick list of early warning signs the organization wants folks to pay attention to:
Fatigue was listed as the most common symptom.
Gastrointestinal symptoms like an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
Shortness of breath, also known as dyspnea
Combined, fatigue and breathlessness can lead to a lack of activity and therefore muscle wasting, which the AHA says is an indicator that heart failure in a patient is getting worse
How Is Chf Diagnosed
After reporting your symptoms to your doctor, they may refer you to a heart specialist, or cardiologist.
The cardiologist will perform a physical exam, which will involve listening to your heart with a stethoscope to detect abnormal heart rhythms.
To confirm an initial diagnosis, a cardiologist might order certain diagnostic tests to examine your hearts valves, blood vessels, and chambers.
There are a variety of tests used to diagnose heart conditions. Because these tests measure different things, your doctor may recommend a few to get a full picture of your current condition.
You May Like: What Caused Dmx To Have Heart Attack
When To Schedule A Medical Appointment
Talk with a medical professional if you notice any symptoms of heart failure. While having just one of these symptoms might not indicate heart failure, its still worth bringing up with a doctor, especially if youre at risk for heart failure.
If you notice any of the symptoms discussed above, monitor them to see how long they last. If your symptoms lasts for more than a week or two, or if you develop multiple symptoms, make an appointment as soon as possible.
Early treatment can prevent complications and help you stay healthy.
There are several risk factors for heart failure. Any one of these risk factors can lead to heart disease. Your risk goes up when you have a combination of factors.
The risk factors for heart failure include:
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.
You May Like: How To Calm Heart Rate
How Is Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosed
Early symptoms of congestive heart failure are often mistaken by patients for other medical problems. Physicians diagnose congestive heart failure with the aid of images and other tests. These include chest x rays, electrocardiogram, blood tests, echocardiogram, stress tests, MRIs, and cardiac catheterization.
What Are Common Heart Failure Risk Factors To Be Aware Of
Heart failure typically develops because the heart has been weakened in some way, according to the Mayo Clinic. It could also happen if your heart becomes too stiff, which prevents it from filling with blood properly between beats, a condition that is more common in people assigned female at birth.
Theres a long list of potential heart failure risk factors because there are many different health issues that can weaken your heart. Here are some of the most common ones to be aware of:
- Coronary artery disease and heart attack
Read Also: What Are Signs Of A Heart Attack
Confusion Or Difficulty Concentrating
According to the AHA: “Changing levels of certain substances in the blood, such as sodium, can cause confusion.” This may present as memory loss or feelings of disorientation, both signs that may be noticed by a caregiver or relative before the actual patient. Either way, these are signs of heart failureâas well as other serious medical conditionsâand should be addressed with a doctor as soon as possible.
For more helpful heart health tips sent straight to your inbox, .
Nausea Indigestion Heartburn Or Stomach Pain
Some people have these symptoms during a heart attack. They may even vomit, Chambers says.
Women are more likely to report this type of symptom than men are.
Of course, you can have an upset stomach for many reasons that have nothing to do with your heart. It could just be something you ate, after all. But you need to be aware that it can also happen during a heart attack.
So if you feel this way and youâre at risk for heart problems, let a doctor find out whatâs going on, especially if you also have any of the other symptoms on this list.
You May Like: How To Treat Heart Failure
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
ACE inhibitors relax and widen your blood vessels. This helps to improve the flow of blood around your body, which reduces the amount of work your heart has to do.
ACE inhibitors have been shown to improve the symptoms of heart failure, reduce the need for hospital admission and improve life expectancy caused by heart failure.
Your symptoms should improve within a few weeks of starting treatment.
The main side effects of ACE inhibitors are dizziness and a cough. You will need to have regular blood tests, at least once every year, while taking an ACE inhibitor.
If you are taking an ACE inhibitor, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medicines. In particular, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines should not be taken with an ACE inhibitor. You should also avoid products containing high levels of potassium, such as salt substitutes.
Never Ignore These 11 Heart Symptoms
If something went wrong with your heart, would you know it?
Not all heart problems come with clear warning signs. There is not always an alarming chest clutch followed by a fall to the floor like you see in movies. Some heart symptoms donât even happen in your chest, and itâs not always easy to tell whatâs going on.
“If you’re not sure, get it checked out,” says Charles Chambers, MD, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute.
Thatâs especially true if you are 60 or older, are overweight, or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, says Vincent Bufalino, MD, an American Heart Association spokesman. “The more risk factors you have,” he says, “the more you should be concerned about anything that might be heart-related.”
Especially watch out for these problems:
Read Also: What Is The Resting Heart Rate