Heart Failure

Human body is made of living cells that require an optimum combination of oxygen and nutrients to remain functional. This mixture is pumped by the heart to make it available to all body parts in the form of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. If in case the heart muscles weakens or if there is any kind of blockage in the arteries, heart fails to pump enough blood to meet the survival demands of body cells. This in turn leads to heart failure that is medically known as Congestive Heart Failure (CHF).

CHF is mainly characterized by congestion of important body parts like liver, lungs, and legs that is caused as a result of the back pressure from a weaken or failing heart, a heart that is unable to complete the circuit of blood flow and fails to pump enough blood to the body.

Types of Heart Failure
There are many types of heart failures that are categorized depending on the causes and conditions of heart disease. Some of the important types are systolic dysfunction, diastolic dysfunction, chronic failure, and acute heart failure.

The systolic dysfunction occurs when there is less force available for contracting the heart muscles. This substantially reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to different body parts. Diastolic dysfunction also reduces the blood flow to various body parts but the key factor contributing to this type of failure of the stiffness of ventricles. In this case, heart muscles contracts normally with the required force but the ventricles do not relax properly and cause reduced blood flow.

Chronic heart failure is very common and shows warning signs over a period fo time. It does not show immediate signs but starts killing the person gradually over a period of time. In case of acute failure, a person develops symptoms at the initial stage that is often followed by a heart attack.

Causes of Heart Failure
There are many contributing factors that are responsible for causing CHF. Some of the major causes are coronary artery disease that leads to reduced blood flow to heart muscles, heart attack that stops the blood flow to the heart muscles, and cardiomyopathy that is the deterioration of the actual heart muscle caused by infections or drug abuse.

Apart from these there are other causes as well that accounts for a good number of CHF cases. These are hypertension, heart valve diseases, past heart attack, inflammation of the heart, lung conditions, drug abuse, and congenital heart defects.

Symptoms of Heart Failure
Symptoms of CHF can vary from person to person depending on the type and causes. Some symptoms are visible at an early age and some are faced gradually over a period of time. The mildness of severity of these signs purely depends of how weak or strong the heart of a patient is.

Some of the common signs are fluid and water retention, lung congestion, irregular heart beats, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. Apart from these signs are rapid heart rate, loss of appetite, increased urinating, swollen ankles, weight gain, and wheezing are also considered to be warning indicators.

Treatment of Heart Failure
Heart failure or CHF is often treated by significantly preventing the cause. The most significant measures taken for the same are controlling the major causes like coronary artery disease and hypertension by keeping a check on diet intake, exercise, weight reduction, and cessation of smoking. Changing lifestyle and improving on learning about heart care measures also prove to be beneficial.

Apart from these there are medications like diuretics, digitalis, beta blocker, angiotensin-2 blocker, and ACE inhibitor that help in the treatment. However, these should always be taken with doctor's prescription and under complete medical guidance.

The goal of the treatment is to improve the quality of life by simply getting rid of the risk factors. If the above measures are taken care of along with careful monitoring of the health, heart condition is likely to reduce. It is also important to take the right measure at the right time for best results.

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