The diagnosis of heart failure might sound more pessimistic than it actually is. It does not mean that your heart has failed and cannot be fixed. It just means that it is not functioning correctly and that you should keep an eye on it.
What is heart failure?
Heart failure is the chronic and progressive condition in which the heart lacks the strength to pump blood to organs and tissues of the body. It is believed that 20% of people over 40 years old will suffer from it at some point in their lifetime.
What are the symptoms?
Since the heart is not capable of pumping blood to the rest of the body, people might experience tiredness and shortness of breath more often, even when doing activities that don’t require much physical effort. Other signs can be swelling of limbs. The extra effort that your heart has to exert to make up for its lack of strength can lead it to become larger, which is another classic sign of heart malfunction.
How is it diagnosis?
At first, the diagnosis is made by physical examination by the doctor. The second step can be a blood test that can indicate signs of heart failure. Physicians will also usually request electrocardiograms and echocardiograms to evaluate the functioning of the heart and x-rays to observe its size.
Are there any risk factors?
There are a few risk factors associated with heart failure. One of them is heart attacks, which cut the blood flow to the heart muscles, causing malfunction. Other well-documented risk factors are high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
What is the treatment?
Lifestyle changes are an essential factor in the treatment of heart failure. Moderate exercise and changes in diet are shown to improve heart health and prevent complications. Weight loss and quitting smoking can also be recommended since obesity and tobacco are risk factors.
The type of medication used in the treatment of heart failure is highly dependent on the nature of the condition of each individual. You might be prescribed blood pressure medication such as vasodilators and diuretics, which will reduce the heart workload and improve blood flow. Doctors can also prescribe medication that changes the strength and/or frequency with which your heart contracts.
The success of the treatment depends a lot on how well you stick with the therapy. It is crucial that you take the prescribed medication and eat a healthy diet.
For some people, the lifestyle changes might feel overwhelming and confusing. Having a competent team of professionals to help you adapt to those changes can make a big difference in how well your treatment works.
You are not expected to know everything about your condition, just keep in mind that you can and should always ask questions and tell your physician what parts of the treatment are more difficult to follow.
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