About six million Americans have heart failure, and more than 870,000 people are diagnosed yearly. Those over 65 who are hospitalized most frequently do so for congestive heart failure.
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure is a chronic heart ailment known as congestive cardiac failure. Despite what the name might imply, heart failure refers to the heart's inability to pump blood as efficiently as possible. Blood regularly backs up because of this, and fluid can build up in the lungs, frequently resulting in shortness of breath.
Certain cardiac conditions, such as coronary artery disease (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, eventually cause the heart to become too frail or stiff to fill and pump blood effectively.
What are the types of Heart Failure?
Heart Failure is broken down into these types:
- Left-sided heart failure
- Heart failure with reduced left ventricular function (HF-rEF)
The lower left chamber of your heart, the left ventricle, enlarges and cannot squeeze (contract) hard enough to supply enough oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body.
- Heart failure with preserved left ventricular function (HF-pEF)
The ventricles at the bottom of your heart pump and contract as usual, but they are thicker and stiffer than usual. As a result, your ventricles cannot relax and fill up fully. When there is less blood in the ventricles, your heart contracts, pumping less blood to the rest of your body.
- Right-sided heart failure
Heart failure can also affect the right side of your heart. Heart failure on the left side is the most common cause of this. Particular lung issues and issues with other organs are additional considerations.
What are the Causes of Heart Failure?
Many diseases that damage the heart muscle can result in cardiac failure. Typical illnesses include:
- Abnormal heart rhythms, including atrial fibrillation.
- Coronary artery disease.
- Heart attack.
- Heart issues present at birth.
- High blood pressure.
- Having obesity.
- Kidney disease.
- Tobacco and recreational drug use.
What are the complications of Heart Failure?
- A collection of fluid in your lungs.
- Heart valve problems.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Kidney damage.
- Liver damage.
- Sudden cardiac arrest.
- Pulmonary hypertension.
What are the symptoms of Heart Failure?
Heart failure impairs the kidneys' normal capacity to cleanse the body of extra salt and waste materials. Although a patient with congestive heart failure retains more fluid, not all patients do. Heart failure warning signals include the following:
- Breathing issues while doing your everyday duties.
- Breathing problems while lying down or sleeping.
- Gaining weight and experiencing swelling in the stomach, legs, ankles, or feet.
- Feeling generally weak or exhausted.
What are the Risk Factors for Heart Failure?
Numerous circumstances can increase the risk of heart failure. You influence some aspects, such as your lifestyle decisions, while you do not control others, such as your age, race, or ethnicity. The chance of having heart failure increases if you have more than one of the following:
- Aging: As you age, your heart can become brittle and rigid. Those over 65 have a higher risk of developing heart failure. Older people are also more prone to various medical conditions that cause heart failure.
- Family History: If heart failure runs in your family, you are more likely to get the condition. Genetics is also essential. A particular gene variation or mutation may cause your heart tissue to weaken or stiffen.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle: If you engage in risky lifestyle habits, such as smoking, eating poorly, using cocaine or other illegal drugs, drinking excessively, and not exercising, your chance of heart failure rises.
- Heart, blood vessel & lung conditions, Infection: Heart and blood vessel conditions, severe lung conditions, and infections like HIV or SARS-CoV-2 raise your risk. Anemia, thyroid illness, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, chronic renal disease, and iron overload are examples of chronic disorders that exhibit a similar pattern of development. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer can damage your heart and raise your risk. Atrial fibrillation, a familiar irregular cardiac rhythm, can cause heart failure.
- Race: Individuals of color have a higher risk of developing heart failure than those of other races, and they usually do so earlier in life and in more severe forms.
What are the preventive measures for Heart Failure?
You can lessen or even completely eliminate many heart disease risk factors by adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking the prescribed drugs.
You can alter your way of life to assist in preventing heart failure by:
- Staying at a healthy weight.
- Eating foods that are good for your heart.
- Exercising regularly.
- Managing your stress.
- Stopping the use of tobacco products.
- Avoiding drinking alcohol.
- Managing other medical issues that could raise your risk
Talk to your doctor and your family about your preferences for medical care, as heart failure is a chronic, protracted condition.