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Heart Failure

Heart failure (HF) means the inability of the heart to pump adequate blood for the body’s requirement.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a type of heart failure, that needs timely medical attention and is sometimes addressed as HF itself. CHF occurs when the heart is unable to pump the blood efficiently, leading to the collection of blood in various parts of the body. Untreated heart failure can result in total failure of the heart, and the failure of other vital organs due to insufficient blood supply.

Symptoms of Heart Failure

High level of LDL in blood can increase the risk for other conditions such as:

Shortness of breath

Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet

Irregular heartbeat

Sudden weight gain

Swelling/bloating in the stomach area

Increased urination at night

Nausea

Causes of Heart Failure

Several conditions, especially the ones that are heart-related can cause heart muscle damage, examples include:

  • Coronary heart disease (CAD)
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital heart disease (heart problems since birth)
  • Arrhythmia
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco usage and alcohol consumption
  • Medications used during cancer treatment
  • Kidney disease

Diagnosis and Treatment

Depending on the symptoms and pre-existing medical conditions, certain diagnostic blood tests and scans such as MRI scan, X-ray scan, CT scan, echocardiogram, biopsy, etc. may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the treatment plan.

The treatment plan is based on the extent of damage to the heart and vital organs, and the underlying causative factors. Treatment generally consists of immediate lifestyle changes to be made, medications to reduce risk factors and promote blood circulation to the vital organs, and surgery if required.

FAQ's :

Certain heart failure may run in families. Families with a history of heart failure and other causes of heart failure such as, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, complications of diabetes tend to pass it to other generations.

Yes, there is a genetic testing available for inherited heart failure, which helps to confirm diagnosis, and predict the likelihood of complications.

Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a common inherited heart condition that can affect people of any age. This disease can thicken parts of or all of the heart muscles, making it difficult for it to function.

Heart conditions such as Long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, Dilated Cardiomyopathy, etc. are some of the heart diseases that are hereditary.

This can be done by leading a heart healthy lifestyle, to reduce risk factor that could cause potential heart damage. Some healthy habits include:
•   Choosing heart healthy foods
•   Maintaining ideal weight
•   Regular exercise
•   Avoiding consumption of tobacco & alcohol

References:

  1. Heart failure. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373142 Accessed on 20-05-2022
  2. Heart Failure (Congestive Heart Failure). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17069-heart-failure-understanding-heart-failure Accessed on 20-05-2022
  3. Heart Failure. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-failure Accessed on 20-05-2022
  4. Heart Failure. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/heartfailure.html Accessed on 20-05-2022

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