When Should I Be Worried About Heart Palpitations
Though they may be scary at the time, heart palpitations are rarely something to be concerned about. Dr. Gulati says that some people are just more aware of their heartbeats than others and are more likely to notice skipped beats or other palpitations. But she and Dr. Osborne both agree that its time to seek medical attention when those palpitations come along with fainting, dizziness, pain, or shortness of breath.
What Is Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs
Congestive heart failure in dogs is a condition that refers to the inadequate function of the heart. The main role of the heart is to pump blood to the rest of the body to help carry out vital functions.
When a dog has CHF, the heart is unable to do this properly. This leads to a number of complications, all of which significantly impact a dogs life.
The two most common causes of CHF in dogs is mitral valve insufficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy. MVI accounts for nearly 80% of all congestive heart failure cases, making it the prime culprit of canine heart disease.
There are multiple different forms of heart disease in dogs, but they all result in either right or left-sided heart failure.
Change In Exercise Tolerance
Could indicate:Coronary artery disease congestive heart failure valvular heart disease
John Osborne, MD, the director of cardiology at LowT Center/HerKare and volunteer for the American Heart Association , regularly sees patients who could mow the lawn easily a few months ago, but now struggleand they end up having heart disease. If tasks that used to be painless are now difficult, consider seeing a doctor.
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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.
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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Heart Failuresigns And Symptoms
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart fails to function properly. The terms “heart failure” and “congestive heart failure ” don’t mean that the heart has actually “failed” or stopped but mean one or more chambers of the heart “fail” to keep up with the volume of blood flowing through them.
Heart failure is brought on by a variety of underlying diseases and health problems.
Your condition may involve the left side, the right side or both sides of the heart. Each side has two chambers:
- An atrium or upper chamber
- A ventricle or lower chamber
Any one of these four chambers may not be able to keep up with the volume of blood flowing through it.
Two types of heart dysfunction can lead to heart failure, including:
- Systolic Heart Failure This is the most common cause of heart failure and occurs when the heart is weak and enlarged. The muscle of the left ventricle loses some of its ability to contract or shorten. In turn, it may not have the muscle power to pump the amount of oxygenated and nutrient-filled blood the body needs.
- Diastolic Failure The muscle becomes stiff and loses some of its ability to relax. As a result, the affected chamber has trouble filling with blood during the rest period that occurs between each heartbeat. Often the walls of the heart thicken, and the size of the left chamber may be normal or reduced.
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.
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 To Expect At Home
When you have heart failure, your heart does not pump out enough blood. This causes fluids to build up in your body. If you drink too many fluids, you may get symptoms such as swelling, weight gain, and shortness of breath. Limiting how much you drink and how much salt you take in can help prevent these symptoms.
Your family members can help you take care of yourself. They can keep an eye on how much you drink. They can make sure you are taking your medicines the right way. And they can learn to recognize your symptoms early.
Your health care provider may ask you to lower the amount of fluids you drink:
- When your heart failure is not very bad, you may not have to limit your fluids too much.
- As your heart failure gets worse, you may need to limit fluids to 6 to 9 cups a day.
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Moderate Stage Of Chf
At Stage C, as the heart continues to fail, the person develops weakness and significant fatigue, shortness of breath or palpitations with the slightest physical exertion. She begins to limit activity because of these symptoms as she is only comfortable when resting. A doctor’s evaluation and testing shows moderate signs of heart dysfunction,
Other possible symptoms might include more visible edema of the lower extremities and the hands might also swell as the fluid congestion in body tissues increases. Shoes and rings might be tighter. The pulse might become weaker because of the struggling heart.
So I Have Been Diagnosed With Heart Failure
In all honesty, its not the end of the world. I cant afford to wallow in self-pity, this body of mine owes me nothing and ironically, its given me a different outlook on life.
Im in no doubt, a diagnosis of Heart Failure is serious. Its a long-term chronic illness, its not curable and its life-changing. I refuse to give up, I know its not that easy for everyone, but my new life mantra is while I still can, I will and I fully intend to live by it.
Im glad thats off my chest
Heart Failure Resources:
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What Is The Prognosis And Life Expectancy For Congestive Heart Failure
- The degree to which other organ systems are involved and the severity of other accompanying conditions
- The person’s symptoms and degree of impairment
- Other factors that remain poorly understood
With the availability of newer drugs to potentially favorably affect the progression of the disease, the prognosis in congestive heart failure is generally more favorable than that observed just 10 years ago. In some cases, especially when the heart muscle dysfunction has recently developed, a significant spontaneous improvement is not uncommonly observed, even to the point where heart function becomes normal.
Heart failure is often graded on a scale of I to IV based on the patient’s ability to function.
The prognosis of heart failure patients is very closely associated with the functional class.
An important issue in congestive heart failure is the risk of heart rhythm disturbances . Of those deaths that occur in individuals with congestive heart failure, approximately 50% are related to progressive heart failure. Importantly, the other half are thought to be related to serious arrhythmias.
What Are Some Of The Most Common Heart Failure Treatment Options
In addition to other personalized treatments, managing heart failure almost always involves adjustments to your lifestyle. Regular exercise according to your activity level will be key. Making changes to your diet to restrict your salt intake is also likely, as is cutting out tobacco and alcohol use. Weighing yourself every day also becomes crucial sudden changes in weight can indicate fluid buildup in your body that needs a doctors attention.
After lifestyle changes, medication is typically the next line of treatment. Diuretics are often used because they help flush excess fluid from the body. Depending on what kind of heart failure you have, we may prescribe medications such as ACE inhibitors, ARBs, spironolactone and heart-failure-specific beta blockers to help control symptoms by reducing heart strain.
If additional therapies are needed, we might move onto cardiac resynchronization therapy and/or use a device called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator . These help reduce heart failure symptoms by pacing your heart correctly and preventing sudden death. If youve had previous hospital admissions for heart failure, we may also use a CardioMEMS device to help monitor you for fluid retention and proactively adjust medication doses.
You may also benefit from other interventions directed toward your heart failure. When this is the case, cardiac rehabilitation is often used to help you recover more quickly and manage the lingering risk of heart failure.
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Can Symptoms Of A Heart Attack Last For Days
When we hear about heart attacks, its typically something thats come on out of nowhere and was unexpected. But some heart symptomsdepending on the situationcan last for several days.
Everybodys different, Dr. Gulati says. some people, symptoms will come on suddenly, and that usually means that maybe a clot broke off or something initiated the cascade of a thrombus or blood clot formation. But other people may have ongoing symptoms of angina that just get worse over time. It might be a response to stressful situations or both physical and emotional stress may bring it on.
For example, you could get chest heaviness while walking, but it goes away once you begin to rest. Or you could have chest heaviness and shortness of breath, and feel excessively hot and sweaty when exercisingso you stop.
Those are usually warning signs that theres something going on, Dr. Gulati says. Angina presents in many different ways to different people. Some people, it will be sudden in onset and theyve never experienced a symptom before, and for other people, they may have been experiencing small but subtle things that have been gradually getting worse.
Other symptoms that could last for several days or even months, Dr. Osborne says, include swelling, waking up short of breath at night, not being able to sleep flat, breathlessness, and the inability to take a deep breath.
Weird Signs You Might Have A Heart Problem
Are your legs suddenly super bloated? Don’t ignore it.
“I was having a heart attack and didn’t even know it.” We hear this line over and over again and if you’ve never experienced a cardiac event, you might think, really? But it’s truethe signs of a heart attack, or any heart problem, are often sneaky and subtle. They strike when you’re least expecting itand young women are not immune.
“Heart attacks are most common in women 10 years post-menopause,” says cardiologist Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “However, approximately 30,000 women under the age of 50 suffer from heart disease.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent statistics, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women over 35, accounting for one in every four deaths. And it’s common for symptoms of heart disease to go unnoticed or to be dismissed, especially among younger women, says Goldberg. Here are a few you should look out for:
That extra-large burrito may not be the only reason you’re feeling super bloated. While leg bloating can result from all kinds of things, it can also be caused by a heart valve problem. A build up of fluids is a common symptom of congestive heart failure, when your heart is unable to process blood in and out at the proper rate, says Goldberg.
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What Causes Heart Failure
Heart failure can be caused by many medical conditions that damage the heart muscle. Common conditions are:
- Coronary artery disease affects the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the heart . The normal lining inside the arteries breaks down, the walls of the arteries become thick, and deposits of fat and plaque partially block the flow of blood. Over time, the arteries become very narrow or completely blocked, which causes a heart attack. The blockage keeps the heart from being able to pump enough blood to keep your organs and tissues healthy. When arteries are blocked, you may have chest pain and other symptoms of heart disease.
- Heart attack. A heart attack happens when a coronary artery suddenly becomes blocked and blood cannot flow to all areas of the heart muscle. The heart muscle becomes permanently damaged and muscle cells may die. Normal heart muscle cells may work harder. The heart may get bigger or stiff .
- Cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a term that describes damage to and enlargement of the heart muscle not caused by problems with the coronary arteries or blood flow. Cardiomyopathy can occur due to many causes, including viruses, alcohol or drug abuse, smoking, genetics and pregnancy .
- Tobacco and illicit drug use.
- Medications. Some drugs used to fight cancer can lead to heart failure.
Tests For Heart Failure
Tests you may have to diagnose heart failure include:
- blood tests to check whether there’s anything in your blood that might indicate heart failure or another illness
- an electrocardiogram this records the electrical activity of your heart to check for problems
- an echocardiogram a type of ultrasound scan where sound waves are used to examine your heart
- breathing tests you may be asked to blow into a tube to check whether a lung problem is contributing to your breathlessness common tests include spirometry and a peak flow test
- a chest X-ray to check whether your heart’s bigger than it should be, whether there’s fluid in your lungs , or whether a lung condition could be causing your symptoms
You can read more about tests for heart conditions on the British Heart Foundation website.
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