Should I Still Call 999 Or Go To Hospital If I’m Worried About My Health
Whether or not you have coronavirus symptoms, it’s essential to dial 999 if you have symptoms that could be a heart attack, or if your heart symptoms get worse.
Dont delay because you think hospitals are too busy the NHS still has systems in place to treat people who need urgent heart treatment. If you delay, you are more likely to suffer serious heart damage and more likely to need intensive care and to spend longer in hospital.
You should dial 999 if you have possible heart attack symptoms or if you are having severe difficulty breathing, such as gasping for breath, choking, lips turning blue, or not being able to get words out. If you feel like youre struggling to manage your condition at home, contact your doctor or NHS 111.
Anorexia Or Cardiac Cachexia
Patients may also experience profound weight loss, a loss of muscle and fat tissue and a loss of appetite. It may be helpful for them to eat smaller and more frequent meals, focusing on food that is high in calories and proteins and supplement drinks to ensure they get as much nutrition as possible.
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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How Are Heart Failure And Its Causes Diagnosed
Your doctor or GP will ask you questions about your symptoms and your past medical history. They will also examine you, including checking your pulse and blood pressure and listening to your heart.
Some tests can be done to help diagnose heart failure and its possible causes.
- Blood tests such as testing for electrolytes, kidney function test, full blood count, thyroid function test or a brain natriuretic peptide test .
- An electrocardiogram to check the electrical activity of your heart and for a heart rhythm that can cause heart failure.
- An echocardiogram an echo is an ultrasound scan of your heart and shows how each part of your heart is functioning, and how much blood is being pumped with each beat.
- A chest x-ray this can find out if there is fluid in your lungs and other lung conditions that can cause the same symptoms as heart failure.
- Breathing tests such as spirometry a spirometry can find out if your breathlessness is caused by another lung condition.
Risk Factors For Heart Failure
Health conditions that left unrecognized or untreated will increase the lifetime risk of developing heart failure. Some of these diseases include:
- Coronary heart disease and heart attacks
- High blood pressure
Unhealthy behaviors can also increase your risk for heart failure, especially for people who have one of the diseases listed above. Unhealthy behaviors include:
- Smoking or using tobacco
- Use of illegal drugs, like methamphetamines or even excessive alcohol intake
- Eating foods high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium
- Not getting enough physical activity
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Acute Heart Failure Vs Chronic Heart Failure
Acute heart failure has a sudden onset and symptoms can appear without warning.
In chronic heart failure, that difficulty is ongoing and long-term. More people develop chronic heart failure than acute heart failure, and around 80 percent of acute heart failure cases are people with chronic heart failure whose symptoms rapidly become worse.
The Benefits Of Tracking
When youre aware of the changes, you are more likely to take action and make the small changes in your lifestyle and treatment plan that can help you live your longest and healthiest life.
Can You Reverse Chf
Yes, it is achievable to reverse the effects of congestive heart failure. According to a book written by Dean Ornish , MD, the president and founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, a few of the patients reversed the symptoms by making lifestyle changes along with alteration to the diet.
How To Treat Heart Failure
Just like any other condition, heart failure can be treated despite it requiring long-term management. Treatments for heart failure target at the signs and symptoms that cause it. This is done by improving the heart, which with time becomes progressively strong. Moreover, treatment of heart failures reduces sudden deaths and help patients to live longer.
In early diagnosis, doctors may treat heart failures by addressing the underlying issues. For example, they may repair heart valves and control fast heart rhythm assisting in reversing heart failure disease to patients. However, most people have their heart diseases treated by the right medications and to some, use of some devices that assist the heart in beating as well as in contracting properly.
Mood And Heart Failure
Its normal to feel low or sad from time to time. You may feel down about your symptoms and new limitations, or feel that you have a lack of control over your life.Some people find it very difficult to live with the uncertainty of having heart failure. But learning about your condition and being involved in making decisions about your treatment will all help you to feel more in control and may help to relieve anxiety. Its also important to discuss your worries with your family and close friends so they can support you.
Stress affects different people in different ways. People who dont manage their stress well may turn to unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or snacking on unhealthy foods. Knowing what triggers the stress can help you to tackle the problem. Finding healthy ways of coping with stress and learning to relax can help you manage your heart failure. Read more about coping with stress.
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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Can Surgery Be Used To Treat Heart Failure
In heart failure, surgery may sometimes prevent further damage to the heart and improve the heart’s function. Procedures used include:
- Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. The most common surgery for heart failure caused by coronary artery disease is . Although surgery is more risky for people with heart failure, new strategies before, during, and after surgery have reduced the risks and improved outcomes.
- Heart valve surgery. Diseased heart valves can be treated both surgically and non-surgically .
- Implantable left ventricular assist device . The LVAD is known as the “bridge to transplantation” for patients who haven’t responded to other treatments and are hospitalized with severe systolic heart failure. This device helps your heart pump blood throughout your body. It allows you to be mobile, sometimes returning home to await a heart transplant. It may also be used as destination therapy for long-term support in patients who are not eligible for transplant.
- Heart transplant. A heart transplant is considered when heart failure is so severe that it doesn’t respond to all other therapies, but the person’s health is otherwise good.
Less Common Symptoms Of Acute Heart Failure
Not everyone will experience the following symptoms of acute heart failure. Some of these symptoms are caused by an underlying condition. Less common symptoms of acute heart failure include:
- Palpitations, the feeling that the heart has skipped or added a beat, where the person has arrhythmia
- Fever, which can be caused by underlying infection
- Fainting, also called syncope
- Blue/colored lips, skin or tongue, also called central cyanosis
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How To Prevent Heart Failure
Further, patients are advised to keep their cholesterol levels under control to prevent further clogging of their blood vessels and raise the risks of heart attacks.
Patients are also encouraged to exercise regularly. This has the benefit of improving the blood circulation in their hearts and assists in maintaining a healthy weight.
It is commendable for patients suffering from this condition to limit alcohol levels, and avoid smoking since it increases blood pressure, and should try to manage stress since it is often involved in blood pressure.
About Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure, sometimes called congestive cardiac failure , is a condition in which the heart muscle is weakened and cant pump as well as it usually does. The main pumping chambers of the heart can change size and thickness, and either cant contract or cant relax as well as they should. This triggers fluid retention, particularly in the lungs, legs and abdomen.
The major causes of heart failure include coronary heart disease and heart attack, high blood pressure, damage to the heart muscle , heart valve problems and abnormal heart rhythms. Of these, coronary heart disease and heart attack are the most common causes.
The major factors that contribute to coronary heart disease include:
- reduced emotional and social wellbeing
- physical inactivity.
Heart failure is more common in elderly people. The survival rate for people with this disorder depends on the severity of their condition.
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How Can I Prevent Heart Failure
You can prevent heart failure by preventing coronary heart disease and heart attack. The best way to do this is to reduce or eliminate the risk factors that lead to heart failure. You could:
If you have had a heart attack, its even more important to manage your risk factors and follow your treatment plan. Make sure you check in frequently with your healthcare team.
Some risk factors such as your age, whether you have other health conditions, or your genes may be outside your control. Speak with your doctor if you have concerns about developing heart failure, and how you can manage it.
Weigh Yourself Each Day
Your doctor may recommend you do this to check whether you have any extra fluids. If you put on more than 2kg over a few days, your body is retaining fluid, not fat. Your doctor will help you work out your target weight this is your weight with no extra fluid, and is the weight at which your body and heart work best. Weigh yourself every morning each day at the same time . Use digital scales, and use these on a firm surface, eg, lino or tiles. Then record your weight on your heart failure action plan and remember to bring it with you to every appointment with your healthcare team.Other than weighing yourself, you also need to check for swelling. Check whether your rings, waistband, socks or shoes feel tighter. You can also press firmly into the skin of your ankle, shin and knee with your finger. If your finger makes a dent that doesnt quickly fill, you have swelling. You should also monitor any changes in your breathing. If you are more short of breath than usual or have more swelling, you are likely to retain more fluid. Follow the steps in your action plan as discussed with your healthcare team or contact your doctor if you are concerned about any aspect of your health.
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Expert Care When Heart Failure Progresses
Advanced heart failure is a form of heart failure that has progressed to the most serious stage. Heart failure gets worse over time. There are four main heart failure stages, based on a patients risks and symptoms. Patients who have advanced heart failure are in the most severe stage of the disease.
Though this condition is serious, there is hope for patients with this disease. Our Advanced Heart Failure Program team provides early diagnosis and comprehensive treatment. No other team in the mid-Atlantic region matches our quality of care or patient outcomes.
In 1988, MedStar Washington Hospital Center became one of the first four hospitals to implant a ventricular assist device to help a weakened heart beat better, and our heart transplant team was the first in our region in 1987.
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.
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Severe Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
- Chest pain
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat together with chest pain, fainting, or shortness of breath
- Coughing up foamy mucus, either white or pink
Any or all of these symptoms could indicate the need for urgent treatment such as intravenous medications, surgery, or defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator if you go into sudden cardiac arrest. In the hospital, your condition can be stabilized until tests reveal exactly what is going on and you can receive the most appropriate treatment.
Information For Healthcare Providers On Heart Failure
The content on this page will be of most use to clinicians, such as nurses, doctors, pharmacists, specialists and other healthcare providers.
The following information on heart failure is taken from Auckland Regional HealthPathways, NZ, accessed March 2021:
Check new onset shortness of breath
Unless history and physical examination clearly indicate a non-cardiac cause for their symptoms, evaluate all patients for heart failure who present with new onset shortness of breath on exertion, orthopnoea, or paroxysmal nocturnal shortness of breath.
The following information on managing exacerbations of heart failure is taken from Auckland Regional HealthPathways, NZ, accessed March 2021:
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Heart Failure During Covid
Your heart failure nurse might have been redeployed, making it hard to have in-person appointments or check-ups. ‘The key thing is to look after yourself well, and always phone your GP or heart failure team if your symptoms change or worsen,’ says BHF nurse Lucy Martin. ‘In fact, call your GP or heart failure team if you have any concerns about your medication or care – they are there to help you.’
Your GP is qualified to answer any questions you might have. Dont worry about wasting their time this is exactly what theyre there for.
- Find out more about coronavirus and how it affects people with heart conditions at our coronavirus support hub.