Heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood, seems like the ultimate knockout. If understood literally, it means that the heart has stopped working which leads to unnecessary panic and hopelessness. It is also known as Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). Heart failure is quite common with more than 1 million cases every year in India.
However, heart failure isn’t exactly what it sounds like. Heart failure doesn’t mean that the heart has stopped pumping blood; it implies that the heart has become weak and is unable to keep up with the demands of the body. For eg: The adult heart pumps about five quarts of blood each minute and if the heart pumps any less than that, then it is counted as heart failure.
In this article, we will discuss the essential things that you need to know about heart failure:
Two types of conditions lead to heart failure:
Systolic heart failure: A condition where the heart cannot keep up with the needs of the body.
Diastolic heart failure: A condition where the heart can pump sufficient blood but is unable to hold all of it due to thickening or stiffness of the heart chambers.
The following are the symptoms of heart failure:
- Shortness of breath.
- Swollen legs.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Chest pain.
- Dry cough with phlegm.
- Loss of appetite.
- Water retention or bloating.
- Excess urination.
Heart failure is a chronic condition and even though it cannot be treated, it’s severity can be minimized by making certain lifestyle changes. The changes and precautions that one’s supposed to keep in mind depend on the symptoms that they are having. It is always recommended to work together with your doctor in order to ensure that all your symptoms are under control. However, some common lifestyle changes include:
- Eating a low sodium diet.
- Limiting fluid intake.
- Losing excess weight.
- Quitting alcohol and smoking.
In some severe cases, a defibrillator or pacemaker may be used.
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