Heart failure is a heart condition in which there is a disorder of its function, and it does not pump enough blood to supply our body (organs, muscles, and tissues). Heart failure has no symptoms as the human body sets up defense mechanisms. However, they are not always effective, and when they stop working, the whole body notices it since the heart cannot pump blood properly.
Therefore, heart failure will affect the quality of life and even limit some daily activities. Despite being chronic, it is not a persistent disease; there may be periods in which the patient is stable and suffer peaks in which immediate intervention is necessary. To know how to detect it and how it is treated, in this FastlyHealarticle, we will talk about heart failure: symptoms and treatment.
Table of Contents
Heart failure: causes
Heart failure is a chronic disease usually caused by a condition of the heart or arteries that causes the blood not to work correctly. Therefore, although its causes are varied, they are always coronary diseases such as angina pectoris or myocardial infarction, the most common cause. But also, as we have said, related to blood, such as high blood pressure (hypertension) that can cause heart failure.
Alcoholism is another cause that can cause this disease because it damages the heart and causes it to dilate due to the thinning and weakening of its walls.
Heart failure: symptoms
At first, the patient may not present symptoms due to the defensive action of the organism. However, little by minor, the symptoms will appear and worsen. These symptoms can vary from one person to another, so that each one can present all or only some of the symptoms. Some patients do not suffer signs throughout their lives, and it is more difficult to detect the disease.
The first symptom usually suffered is suffocation and shortness of breath in activities that require greater intensity but that the patient previously performed without problems. The situation progressively worsens and can affect other vital organs such as the kidneys.
One of the defense mechanisms that the body puts in is tachycardia while at rest. It is the way it has to increase the heartbeat since it does not pump enough blood. Therefore, if it is difficult for you to perform activities that you did not before and have tachycardia while at rest, you likely suffer from heart failure. The heart is also enlarged as a mechanism to achieve more muscular contractions. However, this will only show up in consultation and is not detectable by the patient.
The symptoms that can appear in heart failure are:
- Dyspnea: is the sensation of shortness of breath. It is the most common symptom, and although it appears at first when performing a more intense activity, little by little, it can occur even in daily activities.
- Orthopnea: in this case, shortness of breath appears while lying down. It is common for people with heart failure to need several pillows to sleep to be somewhat incorporated. The cause of this is the accumulation of fluids in the pulmonary alveoli.
- Fatigue: muscle fatigue occurs.
- Edema: swelling may appear due to water retention, especially in the legs.
- Oliguria: is the decrease in the ability to eliminate urine and is closely related to dyspnea and edema. Damage to the heart causes it to affect the kidneys, which retain water and salt, accumulating in tissues and organs such as the lungs, causing shortness of breath and fluid accumulation.
There may also be digestive symptoms such as a feeling of fullness or bloating in the abdomen, pain in the area, or a lack of appetite.
Heart failure: treatment
Heart failure is not treated as such, and therefore there is no cure for it. However, therapy aims to achieve a better quality of life for the patient.
Thus, the main thing is to treat the cause that has caused it, coronary or arterial disease. Risk factors such as:
- The obesity
- An unbalanced diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
It is highly recommended to take diuretics foods to reduce the symptoms of fluid retention.
People with heart failure should engage in light aerobic sports such as swimming, cycling, or walking. Regularly and avoid overexertion.
Medications may also be prescribed to help slow your heart rate or improve heart contractions.
In the most severe cases, when the patient does not respond to treatments and it is not possible to improve their quality of life, a heart transplant can be considered depending on their age.
Prevent heart failure
Heart failure can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease. Some of the measures that can be taken are:
- Reduce the consumption of salt.
- Avoid pre-cooked foods and eat fresh foods.
- Avoid foods and products rich in sodium, such as Serrano ham, salted meat, or sausages.
- It is also good to reduce the consumption of effervescent tablets or baking soda.
- Eat several meals a day and that they are not copious.
- Perform regular physical exercise. It does not have to be too intense; it can be a walk, walking every day for at least half an hour (if they are older people) or an hour (for young people)—activities such as swimming, cycling or gentle gymnastics.
These steps can be taken when the person feels like they have heart failure. However, to prevent it from appearing, it is best to lead a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, without overdoing it, and exercising regularly, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Heart failure: symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.