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
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:
Symptoms Of Chronic Heart Failure
The symptoms of chronic heart failure generally depend on the type of the condition being experienced and its location, i.e. which ventricle is involved.
The main symptom of left-sided chronic heart failure is shortness of breath, which will generally become worse with activity or when lying flat. A cough may also present. If the condition is affecting the right-side of the heart, edema, a buildup of fluid causing swelling of the legs and ankles, is the most commonly experienced symptom.
Other symptoms, which may present regardless of which side of the heart is affected, may include:
- Weakness, commonly of the legs
- Rapid heart rate, even when resting, or an irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain or angina
Doctors generally classify a personâs heart failure according to the severity of the symptoms being experienced. The New York Heart Association Functional Classification system is the commonly used grading system. People are sorted into four categories:
- I: Physical activity is not limited by symptoms.
- II: Physical activity is slightly limited. Rest is comfortable.
- III Physical activity is markedly limited. Rest is comfortable.
- IV: Unable to carry out physical activity without discomfort. Symptoms are present while resting.
People experiencing possible symptoms of chronic heart failure should consult a doctor. In addition, the free Ada app can be used to carry out a symptom assessment.
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Diet Is Key To Eliminating Risk Of Heart Disease
Many people wait until disaster strikes before addressing any significant lifestyle changes including radical shifts in diet. I remember my Uncle Kuni, who when I was a child survived a massive heart attack and immediately afterward took on a strict vegetarian diet.
When I was growing up he seemed eccentric and a bit extreme, but now I understand his near death experience pushed him to a new way of viewing food and the purpose of eating. He ate to stay alive, not for his personal pleasure or as a distraction or as a way to modify his mood. He ate clean food, exercised daily and lived for 20 years after that initial cardiac event. In fact he outlived almost all of his siblings who didnt get that early memo that food matters and that what we eat is truly a matter of life or death.
Watch For These Symptoms
As the heart muscle loses strength, it often cannot handle the buildup of fluid, which can leak into the lungs, abdomen, feet, and legs. People with CHF can experience shortness of breath with exertion while lying down or even while doing simple daily activities. People may awaken at night breathless and require pillows to prop themselves up to avoid trouble breathing.
Patients also can experience fatigue, cough with or without exertion, and feet or leg swelling. Keep in mind that all symptoms of heart failure are not exclusive to the disease and could be caused by another condition. The most important first step is to discuss any new or concerning symptoms with your health care provider to determine their cause.
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What Is Ejection Fraction
Ejection fraction refers to how well your left ventricle pumps blood with each heart beat. Most times, EF refers to the amount of blood being pumped out of the left ventricle each time it contracts. The left ventricle is the heart’s main pumping chamber.
Your EF is expressed as a percentage. An EF that is below normal can be a sign of heart failure. If you have heart failure and a lower-than-normal EF , your EF helps your doctor know how severe your condition is.
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.
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What Is Heart Failure Causes Symptoms Risk Factors And Treatments
Heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs in your body. Heart failure is a serious condition, but it does not mean that the heart has stopped beating. Although it can be a severe disease, heart failure is not a death sentence, and treatment is now better than ever.
When this happens, blood and fluid may back up into the lungs , and some parts of the body dont get enough oxygen-rich blood to work normally. These problems lead to the symptoms of heart failure.
Heart failure develops because the heart muscle becomes weak or loses the ability to pump normally. The Ejection Fraction is a percent that lets us know how the heart is squeezing . If the heart isnt “squeezing” well to get enough blood to your body, you have heart failure with a reduced ejection fraction . If the heart can’t “relax” to fill with enough blood between contractions, you have heart failure with preserved ejection fraction . Heart muscle weakening and damage is often called cardiomyopathy, which literally means “heart muscle disease.”
What Causes Heart Failure
Heart failure is caused by many conditions that damage the heart muscle, including:
- Coronary artery disease.Coronary artery disease , a disease of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, causes decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. If the arteries become blocked or severely narrowed, the heart becomes starved for oxygen and nutrients.
- Heart attack. A heart attack happens when a coronary artery becomes suddenly blocked, stopping the flow of blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack damages the heart muscle, resulting in a scarred area that doesnât work the way it should.
- Cardiomyopathy. Damage to the heart muscle from causes other than artery or blood flow problems, such as from infections or alcohol or drug abuse.
- Conditions that overwork the heart. Conditions including high blood pressure, valve disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or heart defects present at birth can all cause heart failure. In addition, heart failure can happen when several diseases or conditions are present at once.
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How To Live Longer With Heart Failure
Everything you need to know about the various stages of heart failure to live longer with the condition.
A congestive heart failure diagnosis doesnt mean your heart has stopped working, it means that your heart is unable to pump enough blood throughout your body.
Heart failure is a scary term, says , a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. The condition can worsen if the proper steps arent taken to slow or halt the problem, but it does not mean your life is over.
Congestive heart failure, more simply known as heart failure, occurs when there’s a reduction in blood flow throughout the body because blood flow from the heart slows down. That means blood returning to the heart through the veins backs up, causing congestion in the body’s tissues. That congestion may cause swelling in the ankles, legs, or stomach, as well as fluid in the lungs that causes trouble breathing.
Life expectancy with congestive heart failure varies depending on the severity of the condition, genetics, age, and other factors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , around one-half of all people diagnosed with congestive heart failure will survive beyond five years. Only around 10 percent of people diagnosed with the condition survive at least 10 years, according to a study published in August 2013 in the journal Circulation Research.
Stage C Treatment Options
Treatment at this stage focuses on managing your symptoms, optimizing your heart function, and preventing worsening of your condition.
Medications to treat stage C heart failure include:
- Diuretics to reduce fluid retention
- Digoxin to help the heart beat stronger and more regularly
- Beta blockers to help your heart beat stronger
- Entresto , which reduces the risk of death and hospitalization among patients with chronic heart failure
- SGLT2 inhibitors to help lower blood sugar
- Vasodilators, which are medications that help improve the flow of blood through your vessels
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
- Possible cardiac resynchronization therapy
- Possible implantable cardiac defibrillator therapy
In addition to the lifestyle changes for stages A and B, you may need to make the following changes:
- Reduce your sodium intake
- Restrict fluid intake
- Keep track of your weight daily
Remember that even if the treatment causes your symptoms to get better or stop, you still need to continue treatment to slow the progression of your condition to stage D.
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Visit Buckeye Heart & Vascular Institute
Buckeye Heart & Vascular Institute is committed to providing patients with personalized, comprehensive heart and vascular care. Our modern facility is equipped with the latest technology in cardiac and vascular imaging.
Our comprehensive team of cardiologists, board-certified physicians, and electrophysiologists is uniquely qualified to diagnose and address various heart and vascular concerns. To learn more about diagnosing and treating heart failure, visit one of our Dayton, OH offices.
Stage 1 Of Congestive Heart Failure
If youve been diagnosed with stage one of congestive heart failure, it is because a doctor has noticed a weakness in your heart. This news may be surprising, as stage one of CHF does not exhibit any symptoms. Although CHF cannot be cured, you can make healthy lifestyle changes and take certain medication to manage this condition.
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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.
Stages Of Heart Failure
In 2001, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology described the “Stages of Heart Failure.” These stages, which were updated in 2005, will help you understand that heart failure is often a progressive condition and can worsen over time. They will also help you understand why a new medication was added to your treatment plan and may help you understand why lifestyle changes and other treatments are needed.
The stages classified by the AHA and ACC are different than the New York Heart Association clinical classifications of heart failure that rank patients as class I-II-III-IV, according to the degree of symptoms or functional limits. Ask your doctor what stage of heart failure you are in.
Check the table below to see if your therapy matches what the AHA and ACC recommend. Note that you cannot go backward in stage, only forward.
The table below outlines a basic plan of care that may or may not apply to you, based on the cause of your heart failure and your special needs. Ask your doctor to explain therapies that are listed if you do not understand why you are or are not receiving them.
The New York Heart Association clinical classifications of heart failure rank people as class I-II-III-IV, according to the degree of symptoms or functional limits. You can ask your doctor if you want to know what stage of heart failure youâre in.
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What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure can be a medical emergency, especially if it acutely decompensates and the patient can present extremely ill with the inability to breathe adequately. In this situation, the ABCs of resuscitation need to be addressed while at the same time, the diagnosis of congestive heart failure is made.
Common tests that are done to help with the diagnosis of congestive heart failure include the following:
- Electrocardiogram to help assess heart rate, rhythm, and indirectly, the size of the ventricles and blood flow to the heart muscle.
- Blood tests may include a complete blood count , electrolytes, glucose, BUN, and creatinine .
- B-type natriuretic peptide may be helpful in deciding if a patient has shortness of breath from congestive heart failure or from a different cause. It is a chemical that is located in the heart ventricles and may be released when these muscles are overloaded.
- Echocardiography or ultrasound testing of the heart is often recommended to assess the anatomy and the function of the heart. In addition to being able to evaluate the heart valves and muscle, the test can look at blood flow within the heart, watch the chambers of the heart contract, and measure the ejection fraction .
Other tests may be considered to evaluate and monitor a patient with suspected congestive heart failure, depending upon the clinical situation.
Best Natural Cures For Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart becomes too weak and energy starved to be able to pump blood normally to satisfy the needs of the body. The blood may pool inside the heart and in the veins around it, causing fluid retention in the area, especially the lungs, abdomen and legs. Symptoms include breathlessness, muscular fatigue, coughing and wheezing, and swelling of legs, ankles, and abdomen.
The major cause of this serious medical condition is coronary heart disease, along with conditions such as, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, other heart diseases and a past history of heart attack. Many other factors such as, smoking, alcoholism, nutritional deficiencies, stress, etc. also might contribute to the development of this condition. Congestive heart failure is more commonly seen in the elderly. The survival rate depends on the extent of damage. At early stages, these natural cures are very beneficial for people suffering from congestive heart failure.
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Fluid Overload And Lung Congestion
Fluid overload and lung congestion are unfortunately frequent in people with heart failure and are the most frequent reasons people with heart failure develop symptoms.
With heart failure, the pumping of the heart is less efficient than normal. To compensate for this reduced pumping ability the body attempts to hold on to salt and water. The accumulation of sodium and water can initially improve cardiac function, at least marginallybut eventually, fluid accumulation becomes excessive and leads to several kinds of symptoms. These include:
Heart Damage Can Be Reversed
An echocardiogram is a noninvasive ultrasound study that allows a physician to assess heart function, the size of the heart, and the condition of the heart valves. Depending on the findings, there may be further tests, such as a heart catheterization or coronary angiogram to look at the blood vessels supplying the heart. Once a diagnosis is made, your physician will be able to assess the cause of the condition and start treatment.
Early diagnosis and treatment are very important. There have been dramatic strides over the last three decades in the treatment of congestive heart failure. It was once thought that heart damage could not be reversed. We now know that this is not true.
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