India has one of the highest burdens of cardiovascular disease (CVD) worldwide. By the end of 2016 more than 54.5 million people in India were projected to have CVDs. One in four deaths in India currently results from CVDs.
Heart failure is the most fatal and commonly occurring cardiovascular disease. Here we have covered everything that you would want to know about congestive heart failure, from its symptoms, stages, diagnosis, and treatment procedure.
Heart failure occurs when the heart muscles cannot effectively pump out the blood. Heart failure or congestive heart failure is a long-term condition that gets worse over time.
If the normal process of pumping blood is affected, this can damage your organs and fluid can then might collect in your lungs, leading them to choke.
Heart Failure: types and stages
Heart failure is often differentiated into two major types, systolic heart failure, and diastolic heart failure.
Systolic Heart Failure- If you have systolic heart failure the walls of your left ventricle or chamber of your heart may have weakened or lost their ability to contract, making it difficult for the heart to efficiently pump blood out of the body. The risk factors for systolic heart failure include coronary artery disease, a history of heart attacks, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, excessive alcohol intake, etc.
Diastolic Heart Failure- If you have diastolic heart failure, the walls of your left ventricle may have hardened, making it difficult for your heart muscles to relax, ultimately impairing your heart’s ability to pump blood normally. Some of the causes of diastolic heart failure are coronary artery disease, diabetes, conditions of high blood pressure (hypertension), and Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
The condition of heart failure is further divided into the following four stages:
Stage A: This stage is often termed as the condition of pre-heart failure.
This means there is a high chance of you developing a heart failure condition due to associated family history or any of the following adjoining health conditions:
- Coronary heart disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- History of alcohol abuse
- History of rheumatic fever
- Family history of cardiomyopathy
- History of taking drugs that can damage your heart, for ex: cancer-treating drugs.
Stage B: if you develop a condition of systolic heart failure, that is the left chamber of your heart doesn’t pump well you are said to have stage B of heart failure. People with stage B never had symptoms of heart failure, one of the common causes of developing this stage could be related to any previous history related to the following health conditions :
- Heart attack
- Valve Disease
Stage C: if you are diagnosed with systolic heart failure along with experiencing the symptoms, you are said to be in stage C of heart failure.
The symptoms might include shortness of breath, fatigue, and less ability to exercise.
Stage D: you are said to have stage D of heart failure when you show advanced symptoms that don’t get better with treatment and are diagnosed with systolic heart failure.
Heart Failure: diagnosis and treatment
To confirm the symptoms, you are experiencing are related to a possible heart failure condition, your doctor might suggest a few diagnostic tests like:
- Blood tests
- NT- pro-B-type Natriuretic Peptide(BNP) blood test.
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Chest X-ray
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI)
- Multigated Acquisition Scan(MUGA Scan)
- Stress test
Delaying the treatment might lead you to develop an advanced-stage heart failure condition. The treatment procedure varies with the type of heart failure you have. The following steps are included in the overall treatment :
Medication: medications and some significant life changes are a part of almost every treatment plan. Your doctor might use a combination of drugs to treat your heart disorder. Depending on the stages of your symptoms, you might take any of the following medications, as prescribed by your physician.
- Aldosterone antagonists
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
Surgery: surgery procedures to implant some corrective cardiac devices inside your heart is another effective way to treat the condition of chronic heart failure. These surgery treatment procedures include :
- Coronary bypass surgery
- Heart valve repair or replacement
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs)
- Ventricular assist devices (VADs)
In severe heart failure conditions, when medications have no effect, the patient might have to go for a heart transplant, to receive a healthy donor heart.
Although going for a heart transplant is not the right treatment for all. Your team of doctors might better analyze your condition and may rightly able to evaluate if you require such a transplant.