Heart Failure And It’s Stages
Have you ever wanted to know more about Heart failure, its symptoms, causes, stages and treatments? Then this blog by Premier Hospitals is just for you.
There are four chambers in every human heart. The two chambers on top are the Atria. The atria receive blood from all parts of our body and pump them into the lower two chambers which are called Ventricles. These ventricles pump blood to our body’s organs and tissues.
Heart failure primarily refers to a state where the heart starts losing its strength or capacity to pump out blood to all parts of the body, and this leads to fluid filling up in the lungs and other parts of our body. This is a dangerous situation. If you have a suspicion that you or anyone known to you, might be suffering from Heart Failure, seek immediate medical help.
Types of Heart Failure – What Are They?
The most familiar type is left-sided heart failure. It happens when left ventricle doesn’t expel blood properly out to our body. If the same situation persists, there is a chance that fluid will build up in the lungs, which causes breathing difficulties. There are two types of left-sided heart failures.
- Systolic Heart Failure takes place when the left ventricle can’t contract properly. It may lead to reduced force leading to incomplete blood circulation.
- Diastolic Heart failure will take place when the right ventricle is unable to receive enough blood from the Atria. This leads to fluid retention in areas like the abdomen, lungs, lower limbs, and other major organs.
In some cases, both left and right-sided Heart Failure can occur at the same time. Usually, Heart Failure starts from the left, and then extends to the right if it is left untreated.
The Stages Of Heart Failure:
There are four stages of Heart Failure, depending on the symptoms, and those are as follows.
- Stage 1: People don’t have any symptoms at this stage, but the heart may have some structural weaknesses.
- Stage 2: In this stage, they have minor symptoms. Still, they look healthy. At this point, the doctor recommends reducing the workload.
- Stage 3: In this stage, people experience some symptoms regularly. They are unable to even do their regular work. Specifically, people who have other medical health issues face huge difficulties.
- Stage 4: People at this stage will have severe or paralyzing symptoms throughout the day including even at rest. This stage may require advanced medical and specialized surgical treatment.
Causes of Heart Failure:
- High blood pressure: Rapid increase in blood pressure may lead to Heart Failure. This is seen more commonly in people under stress and also the elderly. Among the elderly, the common reason is the hardening and narrowing of arteries. In this situation, blood flow through the arteries becomes difficult.
- Overstress: Too much of physical or mental stress like increased workload, anxiety, pain, fear and excitement can also lead to Heart Failure.
- Heart valve blockages: If the heart valves are functioning improperly, the blood flow becomes turbulent. The ventricles have to work harder to pump blood to the body leading to Heart failure. The blockages in the heart valves may also result in heart infection or damage.
- Coronary artery disease: The small arteries that supply blood to heart will become narrow when cholesterol and other types of fatty substances accumulate. These narrowed arteries block blood flow resulting in death of the heart muscle and Heart Failure.
- Obesity: Patients with obesity are at a higher risk for Heart failure. So, the cardiologists often counsel patients on weight reduction.
- Substance abuse such as smoking/alcohol/other illegal drugs: Abuse of substances such as consumption of alcohol and smoking affect the heart. There is irreversible damage to both heart muscle and blood vessels, leading to heart failure.
- Diabetes: If the blood glucose levels are not in control, then there is a chance for damage of blood vessels leading to the heart. If the blood glucose is too high, then there is also a chance for stroke.
Symptoms of Heart Failure:
- Breathing problems: If a person is suffering from Heart Failure, then he or she may have severe breathing problems. This is due to excess fluid accumulating in the lungs.
- Chest pain: If you have any blockage in your arteries, then the most common symptom is chest pain. It is best to never ignore chest pain and seek medical help immediately as this may be a marker of a life-threatening event. It may also be accompanied by pressure on the chest and a feeling of impending doom. , and discomfort in the chest.
- Fatigue: Fatigue can often be the first sign of heart failure.
- Swelling of the ankles, hands, and abdomen: Swelling is another sign of heart disease. When the heart doesn’t pump well, the excess fluid backs up into the veins of the legs and abdomen. This leads to visible swelling in these areas
- Persistent cough: Congestion of the lung or accumulation of excess fluid in the lungs can also lead to a persistent cough and also sometimes wheezing.
- Dizziness: Dizziness or Lightheadedness are often signs that heart failure is leading to decreased blood supply to the brain. These symptoms, especially if accompanied by a loss of consciousness/syncope need to be taken very seriously.
Treatment of Heart Failures:
The first step in medical therapy for Heart Failure is removing the excess fluid in the veins and lungs & to try and normalize the blood flow. Doctors will also prescribe drugs to improve the pumping of blood by the heart.
In severe stages of Heart Failure, the doctors may suggest surgery to place a Left Ventricular assist device in the heart. It works as an assistant for the left ventricle and helps in pumping the blood with a proper flow. In some situations, this surgery may be the best solution. But in some cases of Heart Failure, heart transplantation may be the only option, especially for patients who are in a critical state.
About The Hospital:
Since the inception of Premier Hospital in 1991 till today, we have grown to unprecedented levels, due to our excellence in medical sciences and healthcare. Premier Hospital is the creation of Dr Mahesh Marda and when it was first established, was only a small, 30-bed hospital facility. Back then, we provided only secondary care to patients, but that certainly has changed in the present landscape.
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