Signs And Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs
The signs and symptoms associated with CHF may vary, depending on the underlying heart disease and whether the right or left side of the heart is affected. In some cases, symptoms will be the same regardless of side.
These signs should be taken seriously and addressed with your veterinarian at first notice:
Change in gum and/or tongue color to a bluish gray
Increased heart rate
Crackling sound when listening to the lungs
Both right-sided and left-sided CHF ultimately lead to oxygen depletion in the tissues, and eventual heart failure.
How Heart Failure Is Diagnosed
A diagnosis of heart failure or CHF is made by a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart-related conditions, called a cardiologist. Your cardiologist will take a complete medical history, conduct a physical exam, and may order a variety of tests, including blood work and imaging tests.
The following tests and scans may be performed to help diagnose heart failure:
- Natriuretic peptide tests: Measures levels of B-type natriuretic peptide or N-terminal prohormone of B-type natriuretic peptide , which are released into the blood by the heart
- Echocardiogram: Determines the percent of blood that is pumped out of the heart with each heartbeat and evaluates the structure and function of the heart
- Electrocardiogram : Provides a tracing of the hearts electrical activity
- Stress test: Measures how the heart responds to exercise or chemically induced stress in a controlled environment
- Cardiac catheterization:Shows the interior of the arteries in your heart to see if they are blocked and allows for measurement of right and left heart pressures
- Other imaging tests such as cardiac computed tomography scan, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging , or nuclear heart scan can be used to show how well the heart is working.
Other Causes Of Heart Failure Include:
- abnormal heart rhythms where your heart beats too fast, too slow or irregularly
- amyloidosis – a build-up of abnormal proteins in organs such as your heart and tissues. When it affects the heart it’s called cardiac amyloidosis – stiff heart syndrome – and can lead to heart failure
- anaemia a lack of red blood cells carrying oxygen in your blood
- congenital heart conditions different heart problems that youre born with
- endocarditis – a viral infection affecting the heart muscle
- heart valve disease – where blood struggles to flow through the heart properly, putting extra strain on the muscle
- pulmonary hypertension – raised blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply your lungs. This condition can damage the right side of your heart, leading to heart failure. Find out more about pulmonary hypertension on NHS Choices and PHA UK
- some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy
- thyroid gland disease an underactive or overactive thyroid gland which produces too few or too many hormones
- too much alcohol .
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Regular Reviews And Monitoring
You’ll have regular contact with your GP or care team to monitor your condition at least every 6 months.
These appointments may involve:
- talking about your symptoms, such as whether they’re affecting your normal activities or are getting worse
- a discussion about your medication, including any side effects
- tests to monitor your health
It’s also a good opportunity to ask any questions you have or raise any other issues you’d like to discuss with your care team.
You may be asked to help monitor your condition between appointments.
For example, your care team may suggest weighing yourself regularly so any changes in your weight, which could be a sign of a problem, are picked up quickly.
Contact your GP or care team if your symptoms are getting worse or you develop new symptoms.
Your care team will advise you about when and where to seek advice if there’s a potential problem.
Signs Of Heart Failure And Congestive Heart Failure
Most cases of heart failure and CHF are chronic and develop over time. Symptoms to watch for are:
- Chest pain, especially while you are exerting yourself
- New or increased dyspnea or shortness of breath
- Dizziness, light-headedness, or feeling like you may faint
- Sudden weight gain
- New or increased swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet
- Sudden fatigue or weakness especially while doing normal physical activities
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How The Normal Heart Works
The normal healthy heart is a strong, muscular pump a little larger than a fist. It pumps blood continuously through the circulatory system.
The heart has four chambers, two on the right and two on the left:
- Two upper chambers called atria
- Two lower chambers called ventricles
The right atrium takes in oxygen-depleted blood from the rest of the body and sends it through the right ventricle where the blood becomes oxygenated in the lungs.
Oxygen-rich blood travels from the lungs to the left atrium, then on to the left ventricle, which pumps it to the rest of the body.
The heart pumps blood to the lungs and to all the bodys tissues through a sequence of highly organized contractions of the four chambers. For the heart to function properly, the four chambers must beat in an organized way.
What Are The Two Types Of Left
- Systolic failure with reduced ejection fraction : Systolic failure occurs when the left ventricle cannot contract forcefully enough to keep blood circulating normally throughout the body, which deprives the body of a normal supply of blood. As the left ventricle pumps harder to compensate, it grows weaker and thinner. As a result, blood flows backwards into organs, causing fluid buildup in the lungs and/or swelling in other parts of the body.
- Diastolic heart failure with preserved ejection fraction : Diastolic heart failure occurs when the left ventricle has grown stiff or thick, and it is unable to fill the lower left chamber of the heart properly, which reduces the amount of blood pumped out to the body. Over time, this causes blood to build up inside the left atrium, and then in the lungs, leading to fluid congestion and symptoms of heart failure.
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What Causes Heart Failure
Although the risk of heart failure doesnt change as you get older, youre more likely to have heart failure when youre older.
Many medical conditions that damage the heart muscle can cause heart failure. Common conditions include:
- Tobacco and recreational drug use.
- Medications. Some drugs used to fight cancer can lead to heart failure.
What Is Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs
Congestive heart failure in dogs occurs when the heart is unable to pump an adequate amount of blood to the body, thus causing an increase in pressure and fluid that eventually leaks into the lungs and, less frequently, other major organs.
When fluid accumulates in or around a dogs lungs, it prohibits the lungs from expanding normally and prevents oxygen from moving into the bloodstream properly. This can cause a variety of symptoms and health issues.
CHF can be a slow-onset condition that develops over time.
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What Does Congestive Heart Failure Treatment Involve
Each persons ideal course of
CHF treatment will vary according to the conditions underlying cause, his or her overall health, and many other individualized factors. A cardiologist may recommend a combination of the following treatment approaches:
- Engaging in daily, low-impact exercise
- Reducing sodium intake
- Drinking less liquid
- Taking medications to improve heart function and control symptoms
- Undergoing heart surgery, such as heart valve repair or replacement, stent placement, coronary bypass, pacemaker or ventricular assist device implantation, or heart transplant
Its also important to avoid behaviors that can worsen CHF and negatively impact overall health, such as smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol excessively, and eating foods that are high in fat and cholesterol.
Long-term disease management is recommended for everyone with heart failure, even people who are able to successfully reverse CHF. For those living with any type of heart disease, carefully adhering to treatment and implementing heart-friendly habits are key to living a longer, healthier life.
A: Patient Understanding Of Disease And Prognosis
A1: Dealing with advanced heart failure and ageing
Patient statements revealed different levels of perspectives related to heart failure, ranging from descriptions of their illness adaption to changing conditions , appraisal of their own quality of life , and their handling of information regarding their illness .
A1.a: Perception of heart failure
The patients described various experiences with symptoms of heart failure, in particular, limitations such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and restrictions in activities of daily living. Frequently, they did not perceive heart failure as a life-limiting, chronic disease with a long-term course, but rather as a disease with acute life-threatening events. The patients often believed their condition was a result of their old age and not a genuine illness. Medical definitions and personal experiences may diverge: Despite their specific diagnosis and treatment, the patients reported feeling well. Consequently, they may play down their symptoms and not take their medications. However, changes in the patients perceptions were sometimes observed when their condition worsened:
Patient P1, T3 : But my heart, thats not really the problem. That is high blood pressure. Yes, I have that! Oh, yeah! You know, now now I have it under control. You know, I have never taken any pills. Yeah, and I watch out for my blood pressure. But if I say I take my tablets, that I do not do that anymore.
A.1b: Adaption to changing conditions
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What You Should Know If Diagnosed With Congestive Heart Failure
The term heart failure can sound scary when you first hear it the word failure alone could keep you up at night. You might think to yourself, Does this mean that my heart no longer works? Thankfully, thats not the case. What it really means is that your heart is not functioning or pumping as well as it could be, and left untreated, it can cause severe damage to your internal organs. Congestive Heart Failure is a serious condition, but it doesnt have to be a death sentence.
You may have to make some significant changes to your lifestyle going forward. Its important to understand the facts if you have a proper strategy in place and you understand the triggers, you can better manage your condition.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with CHF, here are a few things you should know:
Congestive Heart Failure Life Expectancy
review highlights that many physicians do not feel they can confidently predict a patients clinical trajectory in a 6-month time frame.
A 2019 metaanalysis estimates that the 1-, 2-, 5-, and 10year survival rates of all-type heart failure are 87%, 73%, 57%, and 35% , respectively. However, life expectancy for a person with CHF has substantially improved over time.
A persons age at diagnosis may impact prognosis. The authors report that the 5-year survival rate for people under 65 years of age was around 79%, while the rate was about 50% for those 75 and over.
Additionally, how much blood a persons heart pumps out per beat, known as the ejection fraction , may affect life expectancy. Doctors will note a patients EF as a percentage, with a normal output falling between
40% may be at a greater risk of dying from CHF. However, a 2017 study reports that the 5-year life expectancy is poor among all patients admitted to the hospital with heart failure regardless of their EF, with the estimated 5-year mortality at 75.4%. The above 2019 meta-analysis also found no significant difference in the survival rate between patients with an EF below 40% and those with one above.
Risk factors, such as obesity, hypertension, and a poor diet may also negatively impact a persons outlook.
CHF is not curable, but early detection and treatment may help improve a persons life expectancy. Following a treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes may help improve their quality of life.
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Living With Heart Failure
There are five things patients diagnosed with heart failure need to do every day at home to manage their heart failure. The following MAWDS acronym may help you remember and follow these basic steps:
- Medications: Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor and heart care team, let them know if you dont tolerate your medications and dont run out of them.
- Activity: Stay active every day, do what you can to keep your body strong.
- Weight: Weigh yourself each day, recognize when changes in your weight mean you are retaining more fluid.
- Diet: Follow your die, that means low salt and limit fluid intake .
- Symptoms: Recognize your symptoms and know when to call for help.
How Does Heart Failure Affect The Quality Of Life And Lifestyle
With the right care and treatment plan, many adults still enjoy life even though heart failure limits their activities. How well you feel depends on:
- How well your heart muscle is working.
- How well you respond to your treatment plan.
- How well you follow your treatment plan.
This includes caring for yourself by:
- Taking your medications.
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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.
Symptoms Of Heart Failure
The main symptoms of heart failure are:
- breathlessness after activity or at rest
- feeling tired most of the time and finding exercise exhausting
- feeling lightheaded or fainting
- swollen ankles and legs
Some people also experience other symptoms, such as a persistent cough, a fast heart rate and dizziness.
Symptoms can develop quickly or gradually over weeks or months .
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Prognosis At Each Stage
The outlook for CHF varies greatly between people, as there are many contributing factors for every individuals situation. However, generally speaking, if CHF is discovered in its earlier stages and properly managed, you can expect a far better outlook than if its discovered much later.
Some people whose CHF is discovered early and treated promptly and effectively can hope to have a nearly standard life expectancy.
Common Types Of Congestive Heart Failure
The most common type of congestive heart failure is the left-sided CHF. It occurs when the left ventricle of your heart does not pump blood properly.
As congestive heart failure progresses, it might get difficult for you to breathe as the fluid builds up in the lungs.
Left-sided congestive heart failure has two types:
- Diastolic heart failure
- Systolic heart failure
The other type of congestive heart failure is the right-sided CHF. In this type, the right ventricle is unable to supply blood to your lungs.
As a result, blood gets backed up in the vessels, causing a buildup of fluid in your abdomen, lower extremities, and your vital organs.
A person can get both right-sided and left-sided congestive heart failure at the same time. It usually begins at the left side of your heart, and if left untreated, travels to the right.
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Can I Continue Working
If you’re well enough, you can keep working for as long as you feel able. With the right support, staying in work can make you feel better and give you financial security.
Talk to your employer as soon as you feel your heart failure is affecting your ability to do your job so you can find a solution that suits both of you. For example, it may be possible for you to work part-time.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to working practices or premises to help a person with a disability.
Where possible, this might include changing or modifying tasks, altering work patterns, installing special equipment, allowing time off to attend appointments, or helping with travel to work.
What Is Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure describes the inability or failure of the heart to meet the needs of organs and tissues for oxygen and nutrients. This decrease in cardiac output, the amount of blood that the heart pumps, is not adequate to circulate the blood returning to the heart from the body and lungs, causing the fluid to leak from capillary blood vessels. This leads to symptoms that may include shortness of breath, weakness, and swelling.
Understanding blood flow in the heart and body
The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs while the left side pumps blood to the rest of the body. Blood from the body enters the right atrium through the vena cava. It then flows into the right ventricle where it is pumped to the lungs through the pulmonary artery, which carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs. In the lungs, oxygen is loaded onto red blood cells and returns to the left atrium of the heart via the pulmonary veins. Blood then flows into the left ventricle where it is pumped to the organs and tissues of the body. Oxygen is downloaded from red blood cells into the various organs while carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism, is added to be removed from the lungs. Blood then returns to the right atrium to start the cycle again. The pulmonary veins are unusual in that they carry oxygenated blood, while the pulmonary artery carries deoxygenated blood. This is a reversal of duties versus the roles of veins and arteries in the rest of the body.
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