Heart Failure: Know all about it

Heart Failure, sometimes known as congestive heart failure, occurs when your heart muscle doesn't pump blood as well as it should. It is a chronic progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen Certain conditions, such as narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, gradually leave your heart too weak or stiff to fill and pump efficiently. The most common causes of heart failure are coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and Diabetes. The other causes are cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle), valvular heart disease (damage to or a defect in one of the four heart valves), congenital heart diseases (problem with the heart's structure and function that is present at birth), arrhythmia (when heart beats with an irregular or abnormal rhythm), thyroid disease, viral myocardial disease (inflammation of the heart muscle), drinking excess alcohol etc. Some of these conditions can be present without your knowing it.
See your doctor if you think you might be experiencing signs or symptoms like shortness of breath, persistent coughing, leg swelling, increased heart rate, tiredness, loss of appetite etc. It is diagnosed by conducting Electrocardiogram, Echocardiography, chest X-ray and blood investigations. Refractory heart failure cases can also be treated with devices like Biventricular Pacemaker and Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy. There are specific medications in form of Diuretics, ACE Inhibitors, Aldosterone antagonist, ARBs, Beta Blockers which are used to treat heart failure.
“Prevention is better than cure”. The key to preventing heart failure is to reduce your risk factors. You can control or eliminate many of the risk factors for heart disease by taking medication regularly, quit smoking, alcohol abstinence, tracking your daily fluid intake, avoiding caffeine, lot of fruits and vegetables in diet and other lifestyle modifications. Management of stress, Blood Pressure, Diabetes control, adequate rest and proper vaccinations for flu and pneumonia are also important preventable measures.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the Doctors are their independent professional judgment and we do not take any responsibility for the accuracy of their views. This should not be considered as a substitute for Physician's advice. Please consult your treating Physician for more details.