Contributed by: Nancy Dixit
Heart failure is an increasingly common medical problem these days, especially in the aging population.
Did you know that you could be having a heart attack and not even know it?
Yes, it’s true! It can be a silent heart attack with no symptoms, minimal symptoms, or even unrecognized symptoms, and because the symptoms are minimal, many people don’t even know about it for weeks or months.
Heart failure is a long-term condition that gradually worsens over time. It usually cannot be cured, but symptoms can often be controlled for many years.
Let’s start with the basics of heart failure.
Heart failure is different from a heart attack. Like a heart attack, heart failure can be life-threatening. But there is a thin difference between these two.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow stops in one of the vessels supplying the heart.
Heart failure is a malfunction of the heart that prevents the heart muscle from filling or pumping enough blood to the body to function properly. This usually happens because the heart becomes too weak or stiff.
Symptoms usually appear in older adults, but heart failure can occur at any age. It is often associated with heart conditions that can cause other types of problems:
- Cardiac arrhythmias or problems with the rhythm of your heart.
- Coronary heart disease can lead to angina or heart attack.
- high blood pressure Puts a strain on your heart.
- Problems such as congenital heart disease, heart valve problems or cardiomyopathy prevent the heart from working properly.
The early symptoms of heart failure are often subtle, but it’s dangerous to ignore them.
Here are some early warning signs of heart failure:
shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is the most common symptom of heart failure.
Carbon dioxide in the used blood can make it more difficult to breathe in the lung fluid in exchange for fresh oxygen.
Breathing can also be difficult while lying down because gravity causes fluid to move from the bottom of the lungs up to the torso.
If you have any of these symptoms, it does not mean you have heart failure.
But you must contact your doctor to talk about getting a test to check more thoroughly for signs of heart failure.
Accumulation of fluid in the lungs causes coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath. This is one of the symptoms of heart failure.
Did you know that 90% of cases of acute heart failure are the result of congestion, a manifestation of fluid accumulation due to increased filling pressure?
Edema or swelling of the ankle
Edema is swelling due to fluid retention.
Inadequacy of the kidneys to filter sodium and water causes tissue fluid retention and can lead to cardiac edema.
When a heart is not able to pump blood from the lungs throughout the body, the ankles and feet can swell due to fluid accumulation.
In addition, this fluid retention can cause sudden weight gain.
Generally, after heart failure, people are not able to perform physical activities as before. Because you get tired or short of breath easily.
You may experience fatigue and difficulty in daily activities such as shopping, climbing stairs, walking etc.
Lack of appetite and nausea
The digestive system receives less blood, resulting in digestive problems.
When you are experiencing heart failure, you may feel full or unable to eat anything.
You may even feel nauseous often.
Increased heart rate or palpitations
Patients may experience heart palpitations (palpitations) or heartbeats that seem irregular or out of rhythm. Such experiences are often described as a pounding or racing sensation in the chest.
This condition occurs with heart failure because your heart is not getting as much blood as it needs. Without enough blood, your heart weakens, causing it to beat faster.
Insomnia (lack of sleep) or sleep problems are common symptoms in patients with stable heart failure and are associated with decreased daytime symptoms and functional performance.
If you are having trouble sleeping at least 3 days a week for at least 1 month, this could be a major cause.
You should contact your doctor immediately for a detailed checkup.
Frequent dry cough
A cough can be caused by a variety of reasons, but a cardiac cough is different from an allergy, cold, or flu. This often occurs in congestive heart failure (CHF).
In heart failure, your heart muscle has dysfunction that can be caused by poor contraction or stiffness.
This can allow fluid to back up in your lungs, creating a condition called pulmonary edema.
Your body coughs constantly in an effort to eliminate excess fluid.
Heart failure can happen to anyone. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the early symptoms and get the treatment you need.
The earlier heart failure is treated, the more effective the treatment will be.
If you notice any of the above symptoms and these symptoms persist for more than a week or two, or if you have multiple symptoms, you should notify a medical professional immediately.
It is important not to ignore the early signs of congestive heart failure because ignoring them can make your condition worse.
Treatment will work best if the problem is detected early.
Also, to reduce the risk of cardiac ailments and complications, you should also opt for regular preventive heart checkups.
These health tests can give you a comprehensive insight into the health of your heart, allowing you to take the necessary precautions to keep your heart healthy.
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