The Flow Of Blood Through Your Heart
To understand the different types of heart failure, it helps to know how your heart pumps blood:
Right Ventricular Myocardial Infarction
People who have a myocardial infarction caused by a blockage in the right coronary artery may suffer from damage to the right ventricular muscle, producing right-sided heart failure. Treating a right ventricular heart attack is similar to treating any myocardial infarction, including rapidly opening up the blocked blood vessel with clot-busting drugs or a stent.
However, because right-sided heart failure can limit the amount of blood that reaches the left side of the heart, drugs aimed mainly at treating left-sided ventricular weakness need to be used with great caution in people having right ventricular heart attacks.
Can I Improve My Heart Failure Naturally
If your doctor prescribes you medication its important to take it. But making changes to your lifestyle is also going to have a big impact on improving your health.
Changes may include:
- weighing yourself regularly sudden weight gain may mean too much fluid is building up in your body
- watching the amount of fluid you have each day
- limiting how much alcohol you drink
- keeping active this can help improve your energy, stamina and fitness
- keeping to a healthy weight, which will help to prevent your heart from working too hard.
Diet changes are also essential when managing your weight and keeping your heart healthy.
You could feel healthier by eating:
- one or two portions of fruit or veg with every meal
- sunflower oil, olive oil, nuts and avocados instead of saturated fat options like crisps and butter
- one or two portions of beans or pulses everyday with a meal
- your protein in the form of fish, eggs and lean meats
- less salt and sugar.
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When Should I See A Healthcare Provider About Right Heart Failure
If you have chest pains or suspect you may be having a heart attack, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Get in touch with your healthcare provider if you experience:
- Shortness of breath.
What else should I ask my provider?
If you have right-sided heart failure, ask your provider:
- What treatment is best for me?
- Is there a special diet I should follow?
- Should I go to cardiac rehab?
- Will I need surgery?
- Will I need a heart transplant?
- What can I do to stop heart failure from progressing?
- What medications will I need?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Right-sided heart failure means the right side of the heart can no longer pump blood efficiently. Fluid builds up in tissues, causing swelling. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms so the disease doesnt worsen. Healthy lifestyle habits, along with cardiac rehab, improve symptoms for many people. Other treatment options include cardiac devices and surgery. If you have shortness of breath, swelling or chest discomfort, talk to your healthcare provider.
Can A Holter Monitor Detect Heart Failure
Your doctor may recommend a Holter monitor to evaluate your heart health. It provides important information about your heart health in relation to your age, physical exam, medical history, and other tests. A Holter monitor by itself cannot diagnose all types of heart conditions or predict future heart problems.
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What To Do If You Notice Worsening Heart Failure Symptoms
Heart failure can lead to serious complications, such as kidney or liver damage, other heart conditions, pulmonary hypertension and stroke. If youre experiencing worsening symptoms of heart failure, keep track of them and talk to your doctor.
Seek immediate medical attention or call 911 if you experience:
- Cough that brings up a white or pink foamy substance
- Fainting, dizziness or confusion
How Can I Prevent Right
You can help prevent right-sided heart failure by taking the following steps:
- quitting smoking if you smoke
- exercising regularly
- limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake
- eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
- limiting added sugars, sodium, and red meats
- managing your stress levels
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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Right heart failure is a systemic disorder that can affect many organs and hence is best managed by an interprofessional team. The outcomes of patients with RVF is worse than those with LVF, but it does depend on the cause and other comorbidities. Patients with persistently elevated pulmonary artery pressures have the worst outcomes. Many of these patients require repeat admissions and also have prolonged stays. Despite the various therapies for RVF, the outcomes have not greatly improved over the past two decades. While heart transplant is the ideal treatment for patients with no lung pathology, the shortage of donors is a limiting factor.
What Are The Treatments For Heart Failure
There isnt a cure for heart failure but the treatments available can control symptoms leading many people to live full and active lives. Your doctor will usually tell you what stage of heart failure youre in. This is graded in class from 1 to 4. 1 is the less severe and 4 is the most. Knowing this will help your doctors choose the best treatment for your condition.
Treatments for heart failure can include:
- medication to improve your symptoms and reduce fluid build up
- a pacemaker or ICD to help your heart pump blood around your body
- coronary bypass surgery if you have blocked arteries.
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How Can You Treat Right
Unlike left-sided heart failure, the treatments for right-sided heart failure are less straightforward.
The treatment is directed at the underlying causes of right ventricular dysfunction. If you have right-sided heart failure, your doctor will instruct you to manage your symptoms by taking diuretics, eating a low-salt diet, and limiting fluid intake. These treatments are advised for all people with right-sided heart failure.
Other suggested treatments are based on the most likely cause of right-sided heart failure.
Frequent Urination At Night
One of the other symptoms of this condition is frequent urination at night, which is also known as nocturia. This is usually seen as an effect of the edema, wherein the fluid that gets accumulated on the ankle and legs returns into systemic circulation when the person is sleeping or is in supine position. This leads to excessive urine being produced, and hence excess urination.
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What Is Heart Failure
Although the term heart failure suggests your heart isnt able to function at all, it actually means your heart muscles just arent functioning well enough to support your bodys needs. It develops when your heart muscles are either too weak or not elastic enough to pump blood properly. About 6.2 million people in the United States are living with heart failure.
Heart failure is usually a chronic and progressive condition, but it can develop quickly after a heart attack or other conditions that damage your heart. The most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease, which is a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to your heart.
Questions To Ask Your Medical Professional
Here are some helpful questions to ask your healthcare professional about right-sided heart failure:
- What treatment options do I have to manage my condition?
- What kinds of foods should I limit in order to prevent swelling?
- How much fluid should I drink every day?
- How can I stop my heart failure from getting worse?
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Failure
The signs and symptoms depend on how severe your heart failure is. The signs and symptoms you have may be due to the backup of fluid and blood in your tissues. It may also be due to decreased oxygen in your blood. You may have any of the following:
- Trouble breathing with activity that worsens to trouble breathing at rest
- Shortness of breath while lying flat
- Severe shortness of breath and coughing at night that usually wakes you
- Feeling lightheaded when you stand up
- Purple color around your mouth and nails
- Confusion or anxiety
- Periods of no breathing, then breathing fast
- Lack of energy , or trouble sleeping
- Swelling in your ankles, legs, or abdomen
- Heartbeat that is fast or not regular
- Fingers and toes feel cool to the touch
What Are The Symptoms
Your feet, legs, and ankles will likely to swell because blood is backing up in your veins. This symptom is called edema.
- If it backs up into your stomach or liver, you may notice that your abdomen is distended, too.
- You might find that you have to go to the bathroom more, especially at night. This is caused by fluid buildup, too.
As your heart failure gets worse, you may also see some of these symptoms:
- Itâs hard to breathe.
- Your neck veins are swollen.
- Your pulse is fast or feels âoff.â
- Your chest hurts.
- Youâre gaining weight from excess fluid.
- You donât feel like eating.
- Your skin is cold and sweaty.
- Youâre very tired.
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself If I Have Right
The most important thing is to make healthy lifestyle habits part of your daily routine. The more you make healthy living part of your new lifestyle, the better youll feel. Try to:
- Work with a nutritionist or dietitian to create a nutritious, filling meal plan you can stick with long-term.
- Find an exercise routine you enjoy so youll be motivated to get moving every day.
- Track and manage your symptoms. Report any changes to your healthcare provider.
- Take medications as instructed.
What Do The Left And Right Sides Of The Heart Do
The two sides of your heart work in different ways to pump blood.
- Left side: Receives oxygen-rich blood from your lungs and delivers it to the rest of your body. The oxygen helps organs, muscles and other tissue do their job.
- Right side: Receives oxygen-poor blood from your body and delivers it to your lungs. From there, you release carbon dioxide and take in more oxygen.
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Nyha Functional Classification System
The New York Heart Association functional classification considers heart failure symptoms that happen during exercise to determine stage. Patients can go back and forth between stages depending on how well-controlled symptoms are on a given day.
- Stage 1: The person has heart disease, but it isnt yet causing symptoms or limiting activities.
- Stage 2: The person has mild symptoms that only slightly limit activity.
- Stage 3: The person has significant limitations to activities. He or she is only comfortable when resting.
- Stage 4: The person has major limitations and experiences symptoms when at rest.
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.
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How Is Heart Failure Diagnosed
To find out if you have heart failure, your doctor will:
- Ask about your medical history, including your symptoms
- Ask about your family health history, including relatives who have had heart failure
- Do a physical exam
In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist for tests, diagnosis, and care.
Causes Of Heart Failure
Heart failure is often the result of a number of problems affecting the heart at the same time.
Conditions that can lead to heart failure include:
- coronary heart disease where the arteries that supply blood to the heart become clogged up with fatty substances , which may cause angina or a heart attack
- high blood pressure this can put extra strain on the heart, which over time can lead to heart failure
- conditions affecting the heart muscle
- heart rhythm problems , such as atrial fibrillation
- damage or other problems with the heart valves
- congenital heart disease birth defects that affect the normal workings of the heart
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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.
Imaging And Other Tests
Other tests provide pictures of the heart and surrounding structures or show how well the heart is working:
- Electrocardiogram : An electrocardiogram test uses small sensors to measure heart rate , rhythm and electrical impulses.
- Chest X-ray: A chest X-ray is a picture of your lungs, heart and surrounding structures. It can show whether there is fluid in your lungs from heart failure, or if your heart muscle is enlarged.
- Echocardiogram : Echocardiography uses sound waves to create images of your heart. It can show how thick the heart muscle has become, as well as measure ejection fraction.
- MRI: MRI is an advanced imaging test that takes pictures of the heart and surrounding structures. It helps determine your heart function and size and whether there are any changes in the heart muscle. A cardiac MRI may help your doctors identify causes of heart failure.
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Surgery For Heart Failure
Your doctor may recommend surgery to implant a medical device that helps the heart function more effectively:
- Pacemaker, which maintains a steady heart beat in people with a slow or irregular heartbeat
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator , which monitors the heart for fast rhythm and delivers an electrical shock to reset normal rhythm
- Left ventricular assist device , which takes over the pumping action of the heart
People with advanced heart failure may be candidates for heart transplantation. A heart transplant replaces the diseased heart with a donated heart from a person who has died.
What Are The Causes
Sometimes it just happens. But usually itâs left-side heart failure that causes right-side heart failure. As the left chamber of your heart loses some of its ability to pump, blood continues to back up — sometimes into your lungs.
Heart failure is a long-term condition that gets worse over time. In most cases, you get it because you have other health issues that have damaged or weakened your heart.
Some other causes of right-side heart failure include:
Coronary artery disease. This is the most common form of heart disease and cause of heart failure. When you have coronary artery disease, plaque blocks your arteries, causing blood flow to your heart muscle to slow or even stop. Read more on clogged arteries and the causes of arterial plaque.
High blood pressure. It measures how hard your heart pumps blood through your arteries. The higher your blood pressure, the harder your heart is working to pump it. That means over time, your heart muscles can thicken and weaken because of the extra work they do. Learn about the symptoms of high blood pressure.
Damaged heart valves. Valves keep blood flowing in the right direction through your heart. If they get damaged, by an infection or heart defect, for instance, your heart has to work harder to pump blood. Eventually, it will become weakened. Get more information on heart valve disease symptoms and causes.
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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 youre able to do and is often eventually fatal.
But its very difficult to tell how the condition will progress on an individual basis.
Its very unpredictable. Lots of people remain stable for many years, while in some cases it may get worse quickly.