About Heart Failure
The word heart failure evokes fear. ‘Heart failure’ does not mean that the heart actually stops working. The heart’s ability to pump blood is less than it should be. In heart failure, the heart continues to work but cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Due to this, the individual problems occur when the tissues of the body do not get enough oxygen and nutrients and the body does not get the blood it needs. They are.
- The kidneys store sodium in the body without excreting it. This results in an increase in blood flow in the heart and blood vessels.
- The body releases certain hormones to help the heart function. Over time these compensatory mechanisms provided by the body become ineffective and symptoms of heart failure begin to emerge.
- Similarly, overstretching the rubber band causes it to lose its ability to return to normal, and the heart muscle expands and dilates, reducing its ability to contract over time. As a result, blood cannot be pumped as efficiently as before.
- Blood returning to the heart through veins from the legs, arms, feet, ankles, liver, lungs and other vital organs regains water in those parts. This is called ‘congestive heart failure’.
- Heart failure does not happen overnight. Over a long period of time, it is slowly swept under the carpet. Heart failure can occur at any age. Occurs from young children to the elderly but is highest in the elderly.
Symptoms Of Heart Failure
Depression symptoms can be moderate or severe. It depends on how weak the heart is. All the symptoms of ‘heart failure’ are caused by changes in other organs of the body due to malfunctioning of the heart. Its main symptoms are severe fatigue and shortness of breath. Feet and ankles are also watery and swollen.
The main symptom of heart failure is severe fatigue and lethargy, as if all the energy in the body is drained. There is always a feeling of tiredness no matter how small the task. A man goes to work and gets suffocated due to lack of energy. Feeling tired and lethargic during daily activities such as shopping, climbing stairs, carrying a bag of goods.
The main cause of this tiredness and lethargy is the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body’s cells. As the body diverts the blood that should go to the less important muscles of the legs and arms to the vital organs like the heart and brain, the legs and arms do not get enough blood and feel tired and lethargic.
Shortness of Breath:
This is a common symptom of this disease. Difficulty in breathing may occur during any exertion. May be while walking, may be while lying down and resting, may be while sleeping. Depending on the degree of heart failure. As the heart stops, difficulty in breathing becomes more severe. For example, if the disease is primary, dyspnea is present only on exertion. As it progresses, children may experience shortness of breath while sleeping and eventually wake up with shortness of breath even during sleep. Shortness of breath during any exertion is called dyspnoea in medical terms. But here is one thing to remember. Shortness of breath can be caused not only by ‘heart failure’ but also by other medical causes such as severe anemia and emphysema. A doctor will determine the cause. The legs are not active when lying down, so most of the remaining blood stored there returns to the heart through the veins. A person with heart failure cannot pump excess blood through the heart back to the lungs. Due to the large amount of blood stored in the lungs, they are unable to breathe.
Some people with heart failure wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath and anxious. This condition is called paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea. People with PND do not experience shortness of breath while lying down. After sleeping for a few hours, they suddenly wake up thinking that. At that time windows and doors are opened to let in more air. In that case, it is natural that after a few minutes of sitting up, the difficulty in breathing gradually subsides.
People with heart failure have a ‘dry’ cough. Snoring may occur along with coughing. Asthma is similar to wheezing in people with lung cancer. Cough is caused by fluid retention in the lungs. Wheezing is caused by the narrowing of the air sacs (airways) in the lungs. In heart failure the sputum is white and bloody along with coughing.
Swelling Of Legs And Feet (Draining):
Increased blood flow from the heart causes blood to back up (back up) to the heart through the veins and water (fluid) accumulates in the tissues (tissue) of heart failure patients. In addition, the kidneys cannot excrete water and sodium properly, causing an increase in the amount of water in the tissues of the organs. Due to this, the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen and other parts look swollen. Watering is especially evident at the feet and ankles.
Even healthy people can develop ankle sprains if they sit still for long periods of time (for example while traveling). Varicose veins are another cause of ankle swelling independent of this disease. This is especially the case with women. Also some medicines can cause swelling of the feet as a side effect. Even obese people get swollen feet easily. So swelling in feet and ankles should not be considered as a symptom of this disease.
Loss Of Appetite, Sickness:
People with ‘heart failure’ suffer from insufficient blood supply to the digestive system and its effect on digestive power leads to problems such as feeling full in the stomach, loss of appetite and flatulence. All these are also common in ‘heart failure’ patients.
Less Frequent Urination:
Urinating less frequently than before can lead to heart failure due to lack of blood supply to the kidneys. But urination is more frequent at night than before heart failure. This is because the water in the legs goes back into the bloodstream and into the kidneys when you sleep at night.
Cold Hands And Feet:
The cheeks, legs, arms and legs of heart failure patients have less blood flow so all those parts are also cold.
Confusion In Mind:
Due to reduced blood flow to the brain, heart failure patients suffer from mental confusion such as blurred vision, inability to think clearly, memory loss, and inability to understand the words of others.
In patients with this disease, blood flow to the brain is very low for a few moments. At such a time they may faint.
In this disease the heart’s ability to pump blood decreases. So the body makes the heart beat to correct it. This causes the heart to beat faster. This is called heart palpitation. Heart failure can occur on the left side of the heart or on the right side of the heart.
Left Heart Failure
Left-sided heart failure occurs when the working capacity of the left ventricle decreases. Oxygenated blood from the lungs enters the ‘left atrium’ and from there enters the ‘left ventricle’. The ‘left hemisphere’ sends blood to different parts of the body. Because it has to pump blood to all parts of the body, the lower left half of the heart is larger and stronger than all the layers of the heart.
The ‘left lower half’ can pump blood throughout the body through contraction. When this contraction is reduced, not enough blood enters the bloodstream to meet the body’s needs. Reduced ability to contract the ‘left lower half’ is called systolic failure. When this happens the ‘lower left half’ of the heart muscle becomes rigid and does not expand back to normal. Then the heart does not get enough blood.
A decrease in the ability of the ‘left half’ to relax back to normal is called ‘diastolic failure’. When trying to treat ‘heart failure’ with drugs. Whichever of ‘Stock Failure’ or ‘Diastolic Failure’ is identified and given medication. Both of these diseases come under ‘left sided heart failure’. In both of these diseases blood backs up from the lungs to the ‘left lower half’ and blood (fluid) remains in the lungs. This is technically called ‘pulmonary oedema’.
When the ability to pump blood is impaired, fluid accumulates in the tissues of various parts of the body. This is called edema. Due to fluid retention in the lungs, it receives oxygen. The process of releasing carbon dioxide is not positive. With that the person does not get enough oxygen and becomes unstable.
Symptom Of Left Heart Failure
- A common symptom of left heart failure is shortness of breath.
- Shortness of breath is ‘onset’ and worsens during any exercise or physical activity.
- Also comes later while resting. After sitting back in bed the patient is able to breathe normally again.
- Once the patient (male or female) has breathing problems during night sleep and sits up sweating.
- Feet, ankles, and legs shrink in the evening and morning.
- Nails and lips turn blue.
- The whole body gets water. This causes the patient to appear bloated.
- Its symptoms may be mild or sudden.
- Treatment may be necessary.
- Diseases that cause left sided heart failure:
- Blood pressure (HBP)
- Heart valve failure
- Congenital heart defect (coarctation of the aorta)
In people with the above diseases, the left side of the heart valve has to work harder to pump blood.To cope with this extra workload, the left side of the heart sometimes enlarges, or the muscles in the walls of that part become thicker, or the heart rate increases. But these changes are only temporary.
Right Sided Heart Failure
The ‘right atrium’ of the heart receives used blood i.e. blood rich in carbon dioxide that returns to the heart through the veins. To purify the blood in the ‘right lower part of the heart’ (right ventricle). That is, oxygen is sent to the lungs. One thing is that right ventricular heart failure is usually caused by ‘left ventricular heart failure’. This is because the right side of the heart is also damaged due to the effect of the increased pressure of the fluid returning from the lungs when the ‘left ventricular’ capacity is weakened.
When the right side of the heart valve is weak, it cannot fully pump the blood it receives into the lungs. Then due to pressure from the back, the amount of blood in the right side of the heart puts a burden on the liver.
- Water and salt (sodium) are added to all body tissues and swelling and liver enlargement occur. As the legs lose firmness, the upper abdomen appears distended.
- The meridians appear swollen.
- Water is retained in all tissues. This is called edema.
- In severe cases the face also swells.
- Increased blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension)
- It can happen due to left heart failure or due to lung diseases like bronchitis, emphysema.
- As a result of valvular heart failure
- Congenital heart defect (septal defect, pulmonary stenosis, or tetralogy of Fallot)
Dyspnea is rare in right-sided heart failure. Swelling of legs, ankles (ankles), liver, intestines causes discomforts like indigestion. Left-sided heart failure is more dangerous than right-sided heart failure.
Complications Of Heart Failure
- Irregular heart beat
- heart attack
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Cognitive impairment
- Mitral valve regurgitation
All these problems can be cured by drugs or other methods.
Prevention Of Heart Failure
If you are a smoker you should avoid it. This is the best way to prevent or slow down the onset of this disease. Precautions to be taken by those who are already suffering from this disease or are prone to heart failure.
- Make sure weight is suitable for age and height. If you are overweight you should lose it.
- Do not engage in excessive physical activity. Do it slowly if you have to.
- Be careful when climbing stairs. When you have to climb, you should stop and rest in the middle. The same should be done when climbing to a higher place and running against the wind.
- Do not drink too much water or liquids.
- Medicines should be used exactly as prescribed by the doctor.