Heart Failure – Symptoms and Causes

Heart failure is the state where your heart is incapable of pumping blood effectively. Congestive heart failure is a type of chronic heart failure which requires timely medical care, even if both terms are used interchangeably.

Your body cells receive oxygen and nutrients as the heart pumps blood. When the cells are fed correctly, the body can function correctly. If heart failure occurs, the weakened heart cannot provide sufficient oxygen and other nutrients for the cells. It causes fatigue and shortness of breath and certain people develop cough.

Daily tasks such as running, walking, climbing stairs or carrying a certain weight can be difficult.

Heart failure is the state of a heart in which the heart does not pump a sufficient amount of blood and the body may not obtain the blood and nutrients needed.

Heart failure is a serious problem, and it usually doesn’t have a cure. But many persons suffering from heart failure can live a normal and trouble-free life when the condition is managed with heart failure medications, healthy eating, as well as other lifestyle changes. It is also useful if you have a supportive family and friends that understand your state.

What are the symptoms of heart failure?

Heart failure symptoms include the following:

  • persistent coughing
  • irregular pulse
  • heart palpitations
  • abdominal swelling
  • excessive fatigue
  • Suddenly get more weight.
  • a loss of appetite
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the leg and ankle.
  • protruding neck veins

What causes heart failure?

Heart failure is usually linked to a different disease. The most common reason for heart failure is coronary artery disease (CAD), a condition that results in the narrowing of the coronary arteries that provide blood and oxygen to the heart. Other conditions that can help prevent heart failure include:

  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • severe forms of anemia
  • cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disorder that leads to weakness in the heart muscles.
  • congenital heart defect
  • heart attack
  • heart valve disorders.
  • certain kinds of arrhythmias, or abnormal heartbeat.
  • high blood pressure
  • emphysema, Pulmonary disease causes shortness of breath because of alveolar damage.
  • diabetes
  • hyperactive or subactive thyroid.
  • some cancer therapies, like chemotherapy.
  • use of drugs or alcohol.

What are the different types of heart failure?

Heart failure may occur in one of the left and right sides of your heart. There is also the possibility that both sides of your heart will fail at the same time.

It is also categorised as diastolic or systolic.

Left-sided heart failure is the most common form of heart failure.

The left ventricle is located below left of the heart. It pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of your body.

Left side heart failure happens when the left ventricle does not pump blood effectively. This prevents your body from getting oxygen and nutrition. Blood enters your lungs instead, which leads to shortness of breath and an accumulation of liquid.

Right-sided heart failure

The right heart ventricle is responsible for pumping blood into your lungs for oxygen collection. Right side heart failure happens when the right side of your heart is unable to function effectively. This is usually caused by heart failure on the left side. Because of the buildup of blood in the lungs caused by left heart failure, right ventricle should work harder. This may cause stress to the right side of the heart and lead to its failure.

Right side heart failure may also happen due to other conditions, such as pulmonary disease. As the Mayo Clinic said, Right side heart failure is characterized by swelling of the lower limbs due to fluid buildup in the legs, feet and abdomen.

Diastolic heart failure

Diastolic heart failure happens when the heart muscle becomes more difficult than usual. The stiffness, which is typically caused by heart disease, means your heart can’t relax or fill up with blood easy. It is referred to as diastolic dysfunction. This results in insufficient blood flow to the rest of your body’s organs.

Diastolic heart failure is usually more frequent in females than males.

Systolic heart failure

Systolic heart failure happens when the heart muscle is incapable of contracting. Cardiac contractions are essential for pumping oxygen-rich blood into the body. This disorder is referred to as systolic dysfunction, and it typically develops when your heart is weak and enlarged.

Systolic heart failure occurs more frequently among men than women.

Diastolic and systolic heart failure may take place on the left or right sides of your heart. You can get one of these conditions from both sides of the heart.

What are the risk factors for heart failure?

Heart failure can happen to any person. But some factors can increase the risk of heart failure.

People of African descent are more likely to have heart failure than other races. Males have a higher incidence compared to females.

People with certain health problems or diseases that harm the heart are also at higher risk. These are:

Some habits or lifestyles can also increase your risk for heart failure, such as:

  • smoking
  • eat foods with high fat and cholesterol.
  • low levels of physical activity.
  • obesity

How can you prevent heart failure?

Healthy living can help treat heart failure and prevent the development of the disease in the first place. Losing weight and exercising regularly can significantly reduce the risk of heart failure. Reducing salt levels in your diet may also reduce your risk.

Here are some other healthy habits:

  • to limit alcohol consumption.
  • quitting smoking
  • Avoid high-fat, cholesterol-rich foods.
  • managing stress
  • obtain an appropriate amount of sleep.

What are the complications of heart failure?

If heart failure is not treated, it may ultimately lead to congestive heart failure (CHF), a condition in which blood settles in other areas of your body. In this life-threatening condition, you can observe fluid retention in your limbs as well as in your organs, such as the liver and lungs.

Heart attack

A heart attack may also be caused by a complication associated with heart failure.

Contact your local emergency department if you experience the following symptoms:

  • dizziness
  • fast heart rate
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • cold sweats
  • crushing chest pain
  • discomfort in chest, like compression or tightness.
  • breathlessness
  • upper body discomfort, including numbness and coldness.
  • excessive fatigue

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