Handle the complicated heart!
A heart failure occurs when the heart is no longer able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s requirement. This could occur gradually (chronic) or suddenly (acute).
Types of Heart Failure
The types of heart failures include left-sided and right-sided heart failure.
Left-sided heart failure is the most common type of heart failure. It may cause shortness of breath due to backed-up fluid in the lungs. There are two types of left-sided heart failure; the systolic heart failure where the pumping problem prevents the left ventricle from proper pumping; the diastolic heart failure that results from a blood-filling problem in the left ventricle.
Right-sided heart failure usually happens along with the left-sided heart failure. When the left ventricle fails, it results in increased pressure and damage to the right side of the heart. The damage hinders the efficient pumping action causing fluid retention in the veins. This leads to oedema in the legs and feet.
Chronic heart failure
Many causes weaken or damage the heart over time which can lead to chronic heart failure. The internal factors are disease or birth defect. The external factors are unhealthy practices such as poor food or lack of exercise.
Conditions leading to chronic heart failure include high blood pressure, diabetes, faulty heart valves, coronary artery disease, inherited heart problems, and a damaged or inflamed heart.
Heart failure and cardiovascular disease in general can also be genetic. It is characterized by coronary symptoms before the age of 50 in individuals who have no other predisposing factors.
Acute heart failure
Chronic conditions can predispose to acute heart failure. Causes of acute failure include infections, allergic reactions, blood clot in the lungs, viral infection that damage the heart, cardiopulmonary bypass surgery, severe arrhythmias or heart attack.
While one risk factor is enough to trigger a heart failure, a combination of risk factors can increase the possibility. The risk factors include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, certain medications like diabetes drugs, sleep apnoea, heart defects, alcohol or smoking, viral infection or kidney problems
Symptoms of Heart Failure
Chronic and acute heart failure have many symptoms in common. But with acute heart failure, the symptoms like weight gain due to oedema, nausea and loss of appetite may be much more pronounced. Other symptoms of both acute and chronic heart failure include shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, tachycardia, coughing and wheezing, spitting up pink phlegm, inability to focus, chest pain etc.
The key to preventing heart failure is reducing the risk factors that can be controlled. Certain lifestyle changes like healthy food, regular exercise, maintaining healthy weight, smoking and alcohol cessation, controlling stress, and regular checkups can go a long way in helping to reduce or even eliminate conditions that lead to heart failure.