One of a person’s essential organs is their heart. The body’s 100,000-kilometer-long network of incredibly long blood veins receives its constant blood flow from the heart. Throughout our lifetime, the heart never gives up to keep us going. As a result, you should take good care of your heart health so that it can continue to function normally till the end of your life. However, living in this modern world has made heart diseases such as congestive heart failure more common than how it was in the past.
What is congestive heart failure? It is a condition where the heart’s ability to pump blood in response to the body’s demands is compromised due to damage to the heart’s structures or function. Congestive heart failure (CHF) around the world is around 64.34 million cases. CHF raises the risk of both mortality and disability. Risk for a person to have CHF increases as a person gets older. After age 65, the risk of CHF doubles for males and triples for women for every 10 years of age increase. Risk for CHF not only increases by ages. Obesity and diabetes are two metabolic risk factors associated with a sedentary lifestyle that increase risk.
One or both of the heart’s sides may experience CHF. The heart is unable to pump enough blood to the lungs in right-sided heart failure for the body to get enough oxygen. When a person has left-sided heart failure, their heart cannot adequately pump blood throughout their body. Compared to right-sided heart failure, left-sided heart failure is more prevalent, the heart is too weak to pump enough blood to the whole body. Compared to right-sided heart failure, left-sided heart failure is more prevalent. Although CHF does not cause the heart to cease pumping, it can create major complications because the heart does not pump blood to the necessary organs as efficiently as it should.
There are two types of heart failure. Systolic heart failure is the first, which happens when the heart muscle cannot contract forcefully enough to pump blood through the circulatory system. The second is diastolic heart failure, which happens when the heart beats regularly but the ventricles are either stiff or improperly relaxed. As a result, less blood can enter the heart during the heart’s regular interventricular blood filling phase. to identify if diastolic or systolic dysfunction is the cause of heart failure. An echocardiogram test will be performed to assess the heart pump’s performance.
Although there are other causes of CHF, coronary artery disease (CAD) is typically the primary cause. A build-up of cholesterol deposits in the artery walls that impairs the heart’s blood flow is known as coronary artery disease, or CAD. Cardiomyopathy, endocarditis and other heart muscle inflammations, congenital cardiac abnormalities, arrhythmias, and disorders of the heart valves are other causes of congestive heart failure. Diseases including high blood pressure, renal illness, diabetes, obesity, and unhealthy lifestyles like drug and alcohol abuse can cause the heart to overwork.
In response to blood flow, the heart chambers first enlarge to accommodate more blood or harden or thicken. This helps to maintain smooth blood flow temporarily, but over time, it weakens the heart muscle and eventually renders it incapable of pumping blood effectively. The kidneys will then react to this state by holding onto the salt and fluid. This consequently caused a build-up of fluid in several organs, which is typically seen in the lungs, legs, and feet. Thus, the congested incident inspired the name “congestive heart failure.”
The signs and symptoms of heart failure might be minor or severe. It might be continuous or sporadic, depending on its mood. The afflicted side of the heart determines the symptoms. Common symptoms include dyspnea, exhaustion even with rest, abdominal or lower leg edema, sudden, fast weight gain, inability to fall asleep when flat, neck vein enlargement, coughing all the time, and nausea. When a heart attack occurs, some people even urinate more than usual and have chest pain. Malnutrition and damage to the kidneys or liver are additional possible symptoms.
There is no cure for CHF but treatments available do help to alleviate symptoms and help a person live better. Antihypertensive medications, such as beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics, antiarrhythmic pharmaceuticals, such as digoxin, and antidiabetic drugs are frequently prescribed for congestive heart failure. Heart surgery, such as the implantation of a mechanical heart pump or pacemaker, may be necessary in extreme situations. A heart transplant might be suggested as a final option. Healthcare professionals may recommend cardiac rehabilitation programs, particularly to patients who have previously undergone cardiac surgeries or who have survived a heart attack. This program aims to enhance the heart’s functional ability to carry out daily tasks, helps to improve heart disease-related factors, and educates patients on how to manage their condition, including how to take their medicine and what to do if their symptoms worsen.
In essence, congestive heart failure can be a deadly disease. It is best managed with a cardiac rehabilitation program. Treatment available helps patients to have a better quality of life. Talk to a healthcare professional if you think you have symptoms of heart diseases such as congestive heart failure as soon as possible.