Heart failure – Symptoms and causes.
Heart failure is a medical condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
It can occur gradually over time or suddenly, depending on the underlying cause. Here are the symptoms and causes of heart failure:
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity or when lying down
- Fatigue and weakness
- Swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
- Increased need to urinate at night
- Decreased ability to concentrate or think clearly
- Coronary artery disease, which is the most common cause of heart failure. It occurs when the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart become narrow or blocked, leading to a decrease in blood flow.
- High blood pressure, which can damage the heart muscle over time and cause it to weaken.
- Diabetes, which can increase the risk of heart disease and lead to nerve damage and blood vessel damage.
- Heart valve disease, which can cause the valves in the heart to become stiff or leaky, leading to heart failure.
- Cardiomyopathy, which is a disease of the heart muscle that can cause it to become enlarged, thickened, or stiff.
- Arrhythmias, which are abnormal heart rhythms that can cause the heart to beat too fast or too slowly, leading to heart failure.
- Manage underlying medical conditions: Control high blood pressure, diabetes, and other medical conditions that can increase the risk of heart failure. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for medications, lifestyle changes, and regular monitoring.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars. Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease and heart failure. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can damage the heart and increase the risk of heart failure. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation.
- Get regular check-ups: Visit your doctor regularly for routine check-ups, screenings, and monitoring of your heart health. Early detection and treatment of heart problems can prevent or delay the onset of heart failure.
- Manage stress: Chronic stress can increase the risk of heart disease and heart failure. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation, exercise, or spending time with loved ones.
- Take medications as prescribed: If you have been prescribed medications for heart disease, take them exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not stop taking them without consulting your doctor first.
It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms associated with heart failure, as early diagnosis and treatment can improve outcomes and quality of life.