Early Attention To Heart Disease
Congestive heart failure is one of the leading causes of death in the elderly and is not curable. The best course is to avoid or treat early known causes of the disease to prevent or limit damage to the heart. See your doctor if you notice early signs that might indicate CHF such as shortness of breath or fluid in your legs.
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.
How Doctors Talk About Heart Failure
There is more than one type of heart failure. Each type is based on what problem in the heart is causing it to not pump as much blood as normal.
Heart failure is groupedâor classifiedâaccording to symptoms. Your treatment is based partly on what class of symptoms you have.
There’s also another way to define heart failure. It’s based on the stages you might go through as your heart failure gets worse. Your doctor also may make treatment choices based on your stage of heart failure.
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Diagnostic Tests And Procedures
This animation discusses some of the tests used to diagnose heart failure. These tests may include an electrocardiogram to look at your hearts electrical activity, an echocardiogram to measure how well your heart is working and look at the structure, and a chest X-ray to see if your heart is enlarged or there is fluid in your lungs. Other tests may include blood tests and an exercise, or stress test. .
Your doctor may order blood tests to check the levels of certain molecules, such as brain natriuretic peptide . These levels rise during heart failure. Blood tests can also show how well your liver and your kidneys are working.
Tests to measure your ejection fraction
Your doctor may order an echocardiography or other imaging tests to measure your ejection fraction. Your ejection fraction is the percent of the blood in the lower left chamber of your heart that is pumped out of your heart with each heartbeat. Ejection fraction tells your doctor how well your heart pumps. This helps your doctor diagnose the type of heart failure you have and guide your treatment.
- If 40% or less of the blood in your left ventricle is pumped out in one beat, you have heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.
- If 50% or more of the blood in your left ventricle is pumped out in one beat, you have heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.
If your ejection fraction is somewhere in between , you may be diagnosed with heart failure with borderline ejection fraction.
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.
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Symptoms Of Heart Failure
Symptoms of heart failure include:
- new or worsening shortness of breath
- difficulty lying flat at night
- fainting or passing out
- weight gain
- muscular fatigue, tiredness
- swelling of ankles or legs
- swelling of abdomen
- heart palpitations
- chest pain or discomfort in parts of the upper body
- unexplained coughing and wheezing
Congestive Heart Failure Treatments
Currently, there is no cure for congestive heart failure. Treatments are designed to reduce symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. However, early diagnosis and treatment can help you lead a long and active life. The good news is that more congestive heart failure treatment options exist today than ever before. The specific treatment plan prescribed for you will depend largely upon the type of heart failure you have and on its underlying causes. All treatment options will have the same four basic goals:
1. Treat the underlying diseases and conditions causing your heart failure.
2. Reduce the symptoms of heart failure.
3. Stop your heart failure from getting worse.
4. Maximize the quality and length of your life after diagnosis.
Treatment options for congestive heart failure will fall under one of four categories:
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How Is Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosed
Congestive heart failure happens when the heart muscles are pumping inefficiently due to fluid buildup around the heart. Its best to get tested, especially if you are at high risk for the condition or have a family history of it. Coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and a history of heart attacks are all signs that you may be at a higher risk for congestive heart failure. If you smoke, drink excessively, have diabetes, or kidney disease, you are also at a higher risk.
Heart failure doesnt necessarily happen suddenly. It can be chronic, in which case you wont necessarily know whats going on unless you monitor yourself for signs and symptoms. These include:
- Shortness of breath, even when resting
- Reduced ability to exercise, perform regular chores, and move around
- A rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Weight gain as a result from fluid retention
- Chest pain
If you notice these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. You will need to get examined and tested for the possible underlying cause of your symptoms. So, how is congestive heart failure diagnosed? Here are a few examples of the tests a doctor can perform to diagnose you. You will not need all of them to get diagnosed. Your doctor will determine which combination of tests are best to get accurate results.
Hypertension Or High Blood Pressure
Another cause of congestive heart failure is high blood pressure or hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, your heart muscle works extra hard to pump blood through your body.
As time passes, because of the overexertion, the muscles in your heart can become too weak or too stiff to properly circulate blood to your body. If you have high blood pressure, your heart muscle workextra hard to pump blood through your body.
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Heart Muscle Disease Or Swelling
Any damage to the heart muscle, whether thanks to drug or alcohol use, viral infections or unknown reasons increases the risk of cardiac arrest.
Congestive Heart Failure Stages of Dying
Though there have been advancements made, 50% of patients with congestive heart failure will have an average life expectancy of five years. For individuals with advanced congestive heart failure, up to 90% will pass away within one year. Individuals with congestive heart failure at a moderate stage will average ten years. Death from congestive heart failure is nearly certain. The congestive heart failure stages of dying are as follows:
Reversing Congestive Heart Failure
It is possible to reverse congestive heart failure. Once the condition of your heart is assessed, the physician will take further steps to treat your congestive heart failure and start appropriate treatment.
This treatment starts with medications and then other procedures may be done to attempt to help the heart get stronger. There are a lot of medications available that will help in improving the quality of your life.
Cardiac viability tests are non-invasive tests that should be done initially to asses if the heart muscle is still alive and if the hearts condition is reversible. Cardiac viability tests should be done prior to any invasive procedures, to make sure the heart condition is reversible and to see if the invasive procedure is truly needed.
For reversal of this disease, early diagnosis is very important.
Cardiac PET provides one of the best and easiest ways to assess for cardiac viability in all individuals.
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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.
Having A Healthy Sex Life
Most people with heart failure can still have an active and safe sex life. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about having sex.
Unfortunately, sexual problems are common. Your interest may drop, or you may have shortness of breath or other symptoms that limit your ability to have sex. Men may have erection problems.
Talk to your doctor. You can get help for erection problems or other sexual troubles.
Tips For Managing Congestive Heart Failure End
You may be asking, How can I provide comfort to my loved one as they experience the end-of-life signs of congestive heart failure? Its only natural that you as a loved one and/or caregiver will want to be as helpful as possible, and ensure that your loved one is experiencing as little pain as possible. Heres some ways you can help:
- Communicate with the doctors and healthcare professionals: Your loved one may be too weak, or simply forget, to communicate their symptoms to the doctors and nurses. You can help by sharing this information with them in order to make sure your loved one gets what they need.
- Provide comfort: Sometimes it is just as simple as spending time with your loved one while watching a TV show, or talking about things they love. These conversations can help in alleviating some of their depression and anxiety.
- Help them remember to take their medicine: There will likely be various pills and medications that your loved one needs to take. You can help by assisting your loved one in staying on schedule.
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Failure
It is very important for you to manage your other health conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, anemia, high blood pressure, thyroid disease and asthma or chronic lung disease. Some conditions have signs and symptoms that are similar to heart failure. If you have new or worsening non-urgent symptoms, tell your healthcare provider.
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Factors That Can Worsen Symptoms Of Heart Failure
The symptoms of heart failure can be worsened by a number of factors, including:
- too much salt, fluid, or alcohol in the diet
- some viral and bacterial infections
- kidney diseases
Treatment for heart failure may include:
- medicines, such as
- diuretics to remove excess fluid and improve symptoms of heart failure
- mineralcortiocoid receptor antagonists are also recommended and used in most patients with heart failure to reduce mortality and hospitalisation
- ACE inhibitors to open up blood vessels, reduce blood pressure and reduce sodium retention and water retention
- certain beta-blockers to slow the heart rate and reduce its work
- aldosterone blockers to reduce blood pressure and reduce the effects of damage to the heart muscle
- ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and aldosterone blockers can increase survival and reduce the likelihood of hospitalisation.
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- Destination therapy
Bridge to transplantation
Each year, more people with end-stage heart failure are evaluated and listed for transplantation. Unfortunately, there are not enough suitable donor organs for all of the patients waiting for a heart transplant.
People who are listed for heart transplantation and are too ill to wait any longer, or are expected to have prolonged wait times, are referred for a VAD as a bridge to transplantation. The VAD allows them to recover and wait at home for an organ to become available.
Bridge to recovery
In some cases of heart failure particularly newly diagnosed CHF or heart failure after other cardiac surgery the heart may recover after a period of support on a VAD. These patients are supported temporarily as a bridge to recovery.
After implantation, the VAD is turned down and the heart is reassessed to see if its function has improved enough to allow the VAD to be removed.
Typically, people recommended for VAD as a bridge to recovery have CHF as a result of:
- Viral infection
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.
Carrus Health Advanced Radiology Department
At Carrus Health, we provide the imaging tests you need for a clinical diagnosis of congestive heart failure. We currently offer CT Scans, X-rays, and ultrasounds to diagnose your condition. Our radiology facility in Sherman, Texas is spacious, clean, and comfortable.
To schedule an appointment, please call Carrus Health at 870-2600. Our friendly staff looks forward to assisting you.
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What Are The 4 Stages Of Congestive Heart Failure
Years ago, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology identified the stages of congestive heart failure. Those stages were updated and revised in 2005. Understanding these stages can help you recognize that congestive heart failure is a progressive disease that can worsen over time.
Here is a description of the 4 Stages of Congestive Heart Failure:
Stages C And D With Preserved Ef
Treatment for patients with Stage C and Stage D heart failure and reserved EF includes:
- Treatments listed in Stages A and B.
- Medications for the treatment of medical conditions that can cause heart failure or make the condition worse, such as atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, coronary artery disease, chronic lung disease, high cholesterol and kidney disease.
- Diuretic to reduce or relieve symptoms.
YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR TREATMENT PLAN!
It is up to you to take steps to improve your heart health. Take your medications as instructed, follow a low-sodium diet, stay active or become physically active, take notice of sudden changes in your weight, live a healthy lifestyle, keep your follow-up appointments, and track your symptoms. Talk to your healthcare team about questions or concerns you have about your medications, lifestyle changes or any other part of your treatment plan.
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Know When To Seek Help
Watch for signs that heart failure is getting worse, such as new or worsening symptoms. Weight gain, ankle swelling, or increasing shortness of breath may mean that fluids are building up in your body. Ask your doctor how often you should check your weight and when to report weight changes.
Your symptoms may suddenly get worse. Ask your doctor when to make an office visit or get emergency care. Keep the following handy:
- Phone numbers for your doctor, the hospital, and someone who can take you for medical care
- Directions to the doctor’s office and hospital
- A list of all the medicines youre taking
Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure
The symptoms of congestive heart failure are also associated with other diseases and ailments.
In the early stages of congestive heart failure, there is a possibility that you might not feel any changes or symptoms. But as the disease progresses, symptoms appear.
Following symptoms would indicate a person has congestive heart failure:
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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: