Congestive heart failure: All you need to know about this condition
TYPES OF CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE
Heart failure attacks you through two routes: Systolic and diastolic dysfunction. In case of systolic heart failure the force with which your heart muscles pump isn’t adequate. So, there is a dearth of oxygen-rich blood that is pumped through the body. Diastolic dysfunction, on the other hand, is a condition where your ventricles become stiff allowing less blood flow to the heart.
WHAT CAUSES CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE?
There are certain conditions that can damage or weaken your heart. Heart failure is the result of a weakened heart. It generally starts with the left side of your heart. The most common causes of heart failure have been found to be coronary artery disease (blockage or narrowing down of the arteries), fault in the valve of the heart, cardiomyopathy (infection of the heart muscle), elevated blood pressure levels, so on and so forth. Thyroid disorder, diabetes, anaemia and kidney ailments can overwork your heart and lead to its failure.
WATCH OUT FOR THESE SYMPTOMS
Unfortunately, a heart failure doesn’t always come with the warning of symptoms. Also, the manifestations vary, depending on the degree to which you are affected. Here are the symptoms you need to watch out for: Difficulty in breathing (due to congestion in the lungs caused by fluid backing up), swollen ankles and legs (caused by fluid build-up), irregular heartbeat, increased urge to pee, especially during the night time.
TESTS FOR HEART FAILURE
Your symptoms and medical history are the cardiologist’s first diagnostic tool. Other confirmatory tests include blood tests to determine cholesterol levels and figure out if thyroid and kidney are performing their duties well. These two organs are the worst hit in case of a heart failure. Imaging tests like chest X-ray, MRI, angiogram, and ECG may also be required.
MANAGING THE CONDITION
The standard line of treatment includes oral drugs like ace inhibitors or vasodilators, beta blockers and diuretics. While ace inhibitors help in open up your narrowed blood vessels and amp up blood flow, beta blockers are used to control blood pressure and heart rhythm. Doctors suggest reducing fluid retention in the body. In severe cases, surgical interventions like angioplasty or heart valve repair procedure may be required. However, you need to be extremely cautious about your lifestyle if you have faced heart failure once. Essential lifestyle measures include monitoring blood pressure and other symptoms strictly, maintaining an ideal body weight, limiting salt and alcohol intake and quitting smoking.
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