Due to a number of reasons, heart functions may become insufficient and heart may fail at pumping enough blood to the body. The heart failure experienced as a result of this situation causes many complications, including the inability of the body to perform its basic functions. This condition, which is a very serious health problem, should be treated without delay. Otherwise, it may cause life-threatening situations.
“What is heart failure?” Heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to the body. Normally, the heart works to ensure that enough blood and oxygen reach all parts of the body. However, in the case of heart failure the heart grows and expands in order to tolerate this situation but still fails at pumping enough blood. This condition is also called an enlarged heart. In addition, when there is a situation such as heart failure, the heart tries to pump the required amount of blood by contracting faster than its normal rhythm. As a result of this, there is a narrowing of the blood vessels and not enough blood reaches both tissues and organs. As a consequence of failed perfusion, tissue and organ damage may occur. There are many factors that contribute, and one or more of these factors play a direct role in the emergence of the disease. The combination of multiple factors further increases the severity of the disease. Therefore, when the diagnosis is made, heart size should be considered and the treatment process should be planned accordingly.
The symptoms of heart failure worsen as the severity of the disease increases. The most common symptoms are as follows:
Heart failure is generally experienced when the heart is damaged and weakened for various reasons. One of these reasons is the hardening of the blood pumping chambers of the heart. Due to this hardening, blood filling is not complete between the two beats and heart insufficiency occurs. In addition, the loss of muscle strength due to damage to the heart muscle also causes blood flow to be interrupted. Genetic factors are also contributive. Individuals with a family history of heart failure are in the risk group. Apart from these, the causes of heart failure in young and old are as follows:
Heart failure can affect both sides of the heart, but in some cases it only occurs on one side of the heart. In most cases the left part of the heart is affected. After the failure of the left side, subsequently the other side is also affected and a bilateral failure develops. In the condition defined as congestive heart failure, the blood's entry and exit to the heart slows down. For this reason, blood accumulates in some parts of the body, causing swelling in the ankles, legs and lungs. In addition, two different types of failure can be mentioned. These:
Its characterized by development of sudden symptoms and their rapid disappearance. This type of failure is usually seen in patients immediately after a heart attack.
Chronic heart failure is more common, its symptoms are continuous and do not improve over time.
Heart failure consists of 4 stages. The stages can be explained as follows:
Stage A: In stage A, there are risk factors such as vascular occlusion and high blood pressure, but there is no significant damage to the heart.
Stage B: There is also damage to the heart, but no signs of failure are experienced yet.
Stage C: The patient's heart is damaged and there are signs of failure.
Stage D: There are signs of heart damage and failure, and the symptoms are difficult to treat.
A detailed history is taken from patients with symptoms of insufficiency and a physical examination is performed. After this, diagnostic tests are performed to investigate heart functions. The most effective of these tests is the echocardiogram. With this method, a comprehensive image of the heart is obtained using sound waves. Thus, possible damages and structural disorders of the heart are detected. After that, a definitive diagnosis is made. In the physical examination, the areas with edema in the body are examined, the heart rate and rhythm are assessed, the swelling in the neck veins is observed, and the diagnosis is supported with the clinical picture.
First of all, complications that negatively affect the patient's life are eliminated. For this purpose, the patient is given medication and a surgery is planned. Drug treatment for diseases such as arrhythmia, high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary artery that increase the risk of failure in treatment should be complemented with dietary and lifestyle changes. In most of the cases, the use of medication with the appropriate dose is recommended by the doctor. The recommended drugs are helpful in improving heart function. In addition, it is also effective in relieving symptoms such as edema and shortness of breath. In case of insufficiency, surgical procedure is applied together with drug therapy. These procedures can be listed as pacemaker placement, coronary bypass surgery, stent, heart valve replacement and repair, and balloon applications. The main purpose of these procedures is to treat conditions such as structural stiffness in the heart.
The life expectancy of patients with heart failure is wondered. Heart failure reduces the quality of life and threatens the person's life in the later stages. Delayed treatment of heart failure may lead to death, not failure itself. For this reason, it is very important to diagnose the condition at an early stage.
Consult your doctor if you experience the following symptoms:
While you can't control some risk factors, such as age, family history, or race, you can change your lifestyle to give yourself the best chance at preventing heart failure. Things you can do include:
With the right care and treatment plan, many adults still enjoy life, even when heart failure limits activities. How well you feel depends on how well your heart muscle works, how well you respond to your symptoms, how well you respond to your treatment plan and how well you follow your treatment plan. Therefore, you should take the prescribed medication, stay active, follow a low sodium diet, monitor and report any new or worsening symptoms.
If you have heart failure, you can take steps to improve your heart health. Take your medications as instructed, follow a low sodium diet, stay physically active, watch for sudden changes in weight, live a healthy lifestyle, keep follow-up appointments and monitor your symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider about any questions or concerns you have about your medications, lifestyle changes, or other parts of your treatment plan.