heart failure

Heart failure

What is heart failure?

    Heart failure happens when the heart muscle fails to pump blood efficiently. Consequently, blood may accumulate, resulting in fluid buildup in the lungs and shortness of breath.

    Various heart conditions progressively weaken or stiffen the heart, impairing its ability to fill and pump blood adequately. These conditions encompass narrowed heart arteries and high blood pressure.

    However, heart failure poses a serious threat to life. Individuals may experience severe symptoms of heart failure, and some may necessitate interventions such as heart transplantation or the use of devices to assist with blood pumping.

What causes heart failure?

    Heart failure may ensue suddenly following a medical ailment or injury that impairs the heart muscle. However, in many instances, heart failure progresses gradually due to prolonged medical conditions.

    Underlying factors contributing to the causes of heart failure:

    Over time, left-sided heart failure can precipitate right-sided heart failure.

Who is at greater risk of developing heart failure?

    Heart failure can affect individuals of any age and occurs in both men and women, although men typically develop it at a younger age than women. Several factors increase the likelihood of developing heart failure:

    1. Age: Individuals 65 and older are at higher risk due to natural aging processes that can weaken and stiffen the heart muscle.

    2. Family history: A family history of heart failure increases the risk, suggesting a genetic predisposition to the condition.

    3. Genetic predisposition: Genetic variations affecting heart tissue can elevate the risk of heart failure.

    4. Unhealthy habits: Certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking, consuming high-fat, high-cholesterol, and high-sodium foods, leading a sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, and illicit drug use, can harm the heart and increase the risk of heart failure.

    5. Other medical conditions: Various health conditions, including high blood pressure, severe lung diseases, infections such as HIV or COVID-19, obesity, diabetes, sleep apnoea, chronic kidney disease, anaemia, and iron overload disease, can impair heart function and contribute to heart failure.

    6. Cancer treatments: Certain cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, may damage the heart and elevate the risk of heart failure.

    7. Race: African Americans are more prone to developing heart failure and often experience more severe cases at younger ages compared to other racial groups. Factors like stigma, discrimination, socioeconomic status, education level, and geographical location can also influence the risk of heart failure among African Americans.

What are the symptoms of heart failure?

    The symptoms of heart failure vary depending on the affected side of the heart and the severity of the condition. Most symptoms arise from diminished blood flow to organs and fluid retention in the body.

    Fluid accumulation occurs due to sluggish blood flow through the heart, leading to congestion in the vessels returning blood to the heart. This congestion may cause fluid leakage from blood vessels, resulting in tissue swelling (oedema) and other complications.

    Common symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath, particularly during activities like climbing stairs, may be one of the initial symptoms.
  • Persistent fatigue or weakness, even following periods of rest.
  • Coughing.

  • Swelling and weight gain due to fluid retention in the ankles, lower legs, or abdomen (belly).
  • Difficulty sleeping when lying flat.
  • Nausea and loss of appetite.
  • Swelling in the veins of the neck.
  • Frequent urination.

    Initially, individuals may experience no symptoms or only mild symptoms. However, as the condition progresses, symptoms become more pronounced and bothersome.

    Consult with a team of specialists to get the best treatments of heart failure

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