Health & Fitness

What is Heart failure?

Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, occurs when your heart muscle fails to pump enough blood to fulfill the needs of your body. It may be caused by conditions such as narrowed heart arteries (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure.

These conditions can cause excessive weakening or stiffening of your heart muscle making it difficult for your heart to pump blood efficiently. Conditions that lead to heart failure may or may not be reversed but lifestyle modifications such as exercise, limiting salt intake, reducing stress, and losing weight can improve quality of life.

Heart transplant has become common today. The heart transplant has become necessary for some people who despite having good health, have heart failure due to minor or major heart problems that put their lives at risk. Healthy people can replace their weak hearts with possibly strong and disease-free hearts to live longer.

Heart disease and heart transplant

A heart transplant is possible with a donor’s healthy heart.

The first heart transplant surgery took place in 1967 and it has since been promising for people suffering from heart problems. Heart transplant has changed the way of life for people suffering from heart diseases. The new advanced techniques have changed the last four decades completely. Today, more than 2,000 heart transplants are taking place every year. Thousands of people are seeing the benefits of new scientific techniques and enhanced medical technology.

Why are heart transplants performed?

Heart transplants are mainly considered when heart failure is severe and does not respond to any treatment or therapy. If the person is in good health and does not have any other physical problem except for the heart, then a heart transplant might be suggested.

A heart transplant can be successful in the following cases:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Severe coronary artery disease with scarred heart tissue from a heart attack
  • Birth defects of the heart

Doctors will evaluate the patient and his or her physical condition and the condition of the heart. It is essential to determine the exact cause of heart failure and the possibilities of a successful heart transplant. The patient needs to undergo certain tests and complete a medical examination before the doctor decides to suggest Vidalista 60 and Aurogra 100.

Cardiac surgeons are specialized in studying the heart and also in the person’s ability to handle the change. The doctor generally considers those who are suffering at an advanced stage but are otherwise in good health.

Before a heart transplant

Before you, your family member, and your doctors come to suggest a heart transplant, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you tried all other types of therapies before you decided on a heart transplant?
  • Will you be able to live without a heart transplant?
  • Are you in good health except for heart disease?
  • Will you be able to live life with regular medical tests, drug treatments, and frequent hospital visits after heart transplant surgery?

If the answer to the questions is no for any or all the above-asked questions, then you should reconsider. Also, if you are already suffering from many other major and complicated diseases, then consider that as well. Even those who are suffering from obesity, infections, and inflammation are not considered at all for a heart transplant.

The process for getting a heart transplant

To get a heart transplant, you have to pass rigorous tests. There are several screening tests and medical examinations which you have to undergo. Before the heart surgery, there is a complete review of your health and it will be considered and studied by the team of heart doctors, nurses, social workers, and bioethicists who review your medical history and the details of diagnostic test results. The goal of the doctors and other professionals is to make sure that you will lead a better and longer life after the surgery takes place.

Once you are ready for the surgery, then you have to wait for the donor who will donate the heart for you. it is sometimes a long and stressful process that certainly requires patience and complete support from the people around you, including your family and friends.

The health care team will support you completely and keep monitoring your health condition and your activities closely. The team of doctors will work hard to keep the functions of the body and the heart in complete control. The hospital staff should know how to contact you when the heart is available for the transplant.

How are donors found for heart transplants?

The heart donors for the transplant are generally people who have died recently or those who have suffered from brain death. Brain death is the condition of the body when the brain has lost all senses and does not recover at all. The brain-dead person is likely in a comatose state and will remain unconscious.

Such tragic incidents happen when a person dies suddenly. The donors permit organ donation before death and the family members give consent for the organ donation and transplant.

The heart organ to be transplanted should be made available to the best possible match based on the blood type, body size, and medical condition of the recipient. There is no bearing on the race or gender of the donor. Once specifications of the heart are identified and matched with the recipient, only then can the heart can be successfully transplanted. The surgery takes place and within 2- 4 weeks of the surgery, the patient can return to his or her normal activities. But there are many restrictions, so careful monitoring will be done by medical experts. This helps in resolving any difficulties the patient may face.

Symptoms

Heart failure may present with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Short, rapid breath (dyspnea) due to exertion or while lying down
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Swollen legs, ankles, and feet (edema)
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Decreased exercise capacity
  • Persistent cough or wheezing
  • Coughing up white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
  • Increased frequency of urination, at night
  • Accumulation of fluid in your abdomen (ascites)
  • Sudden weight gain as a result of fluid retention
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Concentration problems or reduced alertness
  • Severe shortness of breath that occurs suddenly and coughing up pink, foamy phlegm
  • Chest pain if heart failure is the result of a heart attack
  • Heart failure can occur all of a sudden (acute) or may progress gradually (chronic).

When to see a doctor?

Visit your doctor if you suspect your signs or symptoms are caused by heart failure. Ask for immediate care if you experience:

  • Pain in chest
  • Fainting or severe weakness
  • Racing heartbeat along with shortness of breath, chest pain, or fainting
  • Severe shortness of breath that occurs suddenly and coughing up pink, foamy phlegm

Similar signs and symptoms may be produced by other serious heart and lung conditions. Therefore, leave it to your doctor or other health care providers who will come to the correct diagnosis. Worsening of existing symptoms or the appearance of new signs and symptoms in a person previously diagnosed with heart failure means the existing condition is getting worse or non-responsive to treatment. If you have such a condition take Vidalista Black 80mg, and talk to your doctor immediately.

Causes

Heart failure is caused by the weakening or stiffening of the heart secondary to other conditions. If you have heart failure, your ventricles (pumping chambers of your heart) become so stiff that they cannot accommodate sufficient blood between beats. In other cases, your heart fails to pump blood efficiently as a result of a damaged or weakening of your heart and dilated ventricles.

An ejection fraction provides an important measure of how well your heart is pumping. Ejection fraction can also guide treatment as well as help classify heart failure. It can be measured by nuclear medicine tests, cardiac catheterization, and cardiac MRI. The normal value of ejection fraction is 50% or higher, which means your ventricle pumps out more than half of the filled blood in each beat. But a normal ejection fraction does always rule out heart failure. This occurs when the heart muscle is stiffened due to conditions such as high blood pressure.

The term “congestive heart failure” refers to the accumulation of excessive blood in various parts of the body such as the liver, abdomen, lower extremities, and lungs but not all heart failures cause blood build-up.

Heart failure classification:

Left-sided heart failure: Characterized by congestion in your lungs and shortness of breath

Right-sided heart failure: Characterized by congestion and swelling in your abdomen, legs, and feet

Systolic heart failure: Characterized by limited left ventricular contraction. It indicates a problem with pumping

Diastolic heart failure (also called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction): Characterized by limited left ventricular relaxation. It indicates a filling problem

Various conditions can weaken or damage your heart leading to heart failure. Some of them are:

Coronary artery disease and heart attack: Reduced blood flow due to the narrowing of arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) often leads to heart failure. These arteries become narrowed due to fatty deposits in a process called atherosclerosis. When the plaques in such arteries break, blood clots are formed which limit blood supply to your heart causing a heart attack.

Elevated blood pressure (hypertension): Increased force on the walls of arteries increases the load on your heart. This increased workload on your heart can cause thickening and eventually weakening and stiffening of heart muscle thereby reducing your heart’s pumping ability.

Other types of cardiomyopathy, such as dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, left ventricular noncompaction and restrictive cardiomyopathy can be caused by genetic factors.

Myocarditis: Inflammation of the heart muscle can cause left-sided heart failure.

Congenital heart defects: Structural defects in the heart that you are born with may cause heart failure.

Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias): Abnormal rhythms of your heart may cause heart failure.

Other diseases: Chronic diseases such as diabetes, HIV, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, or an accumulation of iron (hemochromatosis) or protein (amyloidosis) may also lead to heart failure.

Making a diagnosis

Your doctor will begin the diagnosis of heart failure by reviewing your medical history, symptoms, and risk factors. He or she can conduct a physical examination to look for signs of congestion and fluid retention in the abdomen and extremities.

Some tests and procedures for the diagnosis include:

Blood tests: A sample of blood can be tested to determine if your kidney, liver, and thyroid are functioning normally. It can also help to rule out other possible causes and detect a chemical called N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP).

Chest X-ray: Chest X-ray can show an enlarged heart and accumulation of fluid in your lungs.

Electrocardiogram (ECG): It measures electrical impulses from your heart. Any abnormal pattern on the ECG report can indicate irregular heart rhythm and heart damage caused by a heart attack.

Echocardiogram: It uses sound waves to create a moving image of your heart. Using an echocardiogram, your doctor can differentiate systolic heart failure from diastolic heart failure.

Stress test: It measures your heart activities while you walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike. The information from a stress test can help your doctor detect coronary artery disease.

Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).. During the same procedure, your doctor may carry out a ventriculogram that evaluates the left ventricle (main pumping chamber) and the status of the heart valves.

Classifying heart failure

Classifying heart failure helps to determine the appropriate treatment approach. The systems of classification include:

New York Heart Association classification: This symptom-based classification has four categories.

American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines: This system classifies heart failure into different stages using the letters A to D. It includes people who are at risk of developing heart failure.

This classification system focuses on the early identification of risk factors and early aggressive treatments to help prevent or delay heart failure.

Treatment

People with heart failure need to manage their condition for their entire lives; however, treatments can improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure and prolong life. Sometimes, treating an underlying cause may reverse heart failures such as heart failure caused by valve defects or abnormal heart rhythm. Treatments include a combination of medications, surgery, and devices.

Medications

Medication when used alone or in combination with other medications can treat your condition.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: Agents such as enalapril, lisinopril, or captopril dilate blood vessels thereby lowering blood pressure, facilitating blood flow, and reducing stress on the heart.

Angiotensin II receptor blockers: Drugs such as losartan and valsartan provide an alternative to people who are unable to take ACE inhibitors.

Beta-blockers: Carvedilol, metoprolol, or other such drugs reduce the heart rate and blood pressure and in some cases may help to limit heart damage.

Diuretics:

Also called water pills, these agents prevent fluid build-up by eliminating more fluid through urine. Furosemide is a common diuretic that decreases fluid build-up in your lungs and facilitates breathing. Taking diuretics can make you deficient in potassium and magnesium.

You may also need supplements for these minerals. Aldosterone antagonists such as spironolactone are a class of diuretics that may cause dangerous blood levels of potassium. Take care while taking potassium-rich food if you are taking these medications.

Inotropes:

These injectable medications increase the heart’s force of contraction and maintain blood pressure. Digoxin (digitalis) in addition to increasing the heart’s pumping ability also slows the heartbeat.

In addition to these medications, your doctor may also prescribe:

  • Nitrates to reduce chest pain
  • Cholesterol-lowering agents like statins
  • Blood thinners to help prevent blood clots

Surgery

Some options include:

Heart transplant: A heart transplant can be the option of treatment in people with severe heart failure when surgery or medications don’t help. In people with severe heart failure, heart transplants can dramatically improve survival and quality of life.

Medical devices:

It works as a pacemaker and regulates your heart rhythm to keep it normal.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), or biventricular pacing: This device discharges impulses to both the ventricles to ensure more efficient pumping action.

Heat pumps: These devices may be an option for those who are unable to have a heart transplant.

End-of-life care for people with heart failure

The hospice care team consists of professionals who provide emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual support to terminally ill people.

Prevention

The best way to prevent heart failure is to identify and reduce the risk factors.

Here are some measures to control the risk factors:

  • Quit smoking
  • Don’t drink
  • Keep your blood pressure and blood sugar in check
  • Exercises and staying active
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress

Lifestyle and coping

Simple lifestyle changes may be of immense value in relieving the signs and symptoms of heart failure as well as in preventing exacerbation.

Here are some tips to follow:

  • Quit smoking
  • Monitor weight regularly
  • Maintain a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
  • Limit fat intake. Restrict saturated fat, trans-fat, and cholesterol in your diet
  • Limit salt intake
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Drink in moderation, if allowed
  • Stay physically active. You may perform moderate aerobic exercises
  • Consider joining a cardiac rehabilitation program
  • Manage stress and get enough sleep

Do not take nonprescription medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and diet pills as they can worsen heart failure and cause fluid retention

Monitor your blood pressure regularly

Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with heart failure.

  • Risks
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • History of a heart attack

Diabetes: Some diabetes medications such as rosiglitazone and pioglitazone may boost the risk of heart failure

Sleep apnea: Temporary cessation of breathing during sleep can cause reduced blood oxygen levels that increases the risk of irregular heartbeats. Both these conditions can weaken the heart muscle

  • Heart defects present at birth
  • Diseases of heart valves
  • Viral infections
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Smoking or any form of tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Irregular heartbeats

Complications

Kidney damage or failure: Heart failure reduces blood flow to your kidneys which over time can progress into kidney failure. Such kidney damage may require dialysis.

Heart valve problems: Functions of valves may be impaired by an enlarged heart.

Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias)

Liver damage: Heart failure can result in damage to the liver when congestion puts too much pressure on the liver.

Heart failure is a life-threatening condition that may worsen over time even with treatment. In such cases, heart transplantation or a ventricular assist device may be needed.

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