What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure can be defined as the inability of your heart to send enough blood to the body due to various reasons.
The most common cause of heart failure is the inability of the heart muscle to contract due to damage to the heart attack. However, heart failure develops due to long-lasting hypertension, heart valve diseases, and congenital heart muscle diseases.
Heart failure is a chronic, progressive disease. With medication, the signs and symptoms of heart failure can be controlled, and in some cases, the heart muscle can get stronger over time.
What Are the Symptoms of Heart Failure?
- It is shortness of breath.
- Early fatigue,
- Constant feeling of tiredness,
- Poor performance,
- Not being able to reach the number of stairs that can be climbed before,
- Lack of energy,
- Chest pain,
- Complaints such as the need to urinate at night are seen.
Besides these; edema and swelling are experienced in the feet. The need to use high or more than one pillow is felt while lying down. Sometimes fluid can accumulate in the abdomen. It can cause loss of appetite.
In the future, it also disrupts the absorption of the intestines. At first, there is weight gain due to edema, but in advanced stages, weight loss begins with loss of appetite due to the filling of fluid in the abdomen.
What are the Causes of Heart Failure?
In general, heart failure is a disease that occurs when the heart is damaged or weakened due to various reasons.
Hardening of the ventricles, the heart’s blood-pumping chambers, can cause the heart not to be fully filled with blood between beats, leading to heart failure.
In addition, weakening or damage to the heart muscle causes the ventricles to enlarge, thus not being able to pump enough blood to reach all parts of the body in sufficient quantities.
In addition, the factors that can be counted among the causes of heart failure are:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- Diseases related to heart valves
- Heart muscle damage (cardiomyopathy)
- Congenital heart diseases
- Heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia)
- Heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis)
- Presence of diabetes, thyroid diseases and viral infections such as HIV
- Alcohol and drug use
- Some drugs that are used continuously
What are the Stages ?
There are four stages of heart failure. It is among the diseases that have been staged as cancer in recent years.
The stages of the disease are listed as follows:
There are risk factors for heart failure such as high blood pressure and vascular occlusion, but there is no significant damage to the heart yet.
There is damage to the heart along with heart failure risk factors, but no signs or symptoms of heart failure have yet occurred (silent heart failure).
Signs of heart failure have started with damage to the patient’s heart (clinical heart failure).
The patient has heart damage, has signs of heart failure, and often has difficulty controlling symptoms (advanced heart failure).
Before applying treatment methods to the patient who applies to the health institution with signs and symptoms, a diagnosis should be made first. For this, some tests are done to investigate the heart function after the physical examination.
Among them, the most effective method is known as echocardiography (ECHO). The heart is examined in detail with the ECO device, in which sound waves are used. Existing structural defects and damages are detected in this way.
Then, blood tests, chest X-ray, exercise test, lung function test, magnetic resonance imaging, angiography, catheter cardiacization, tomography and nuclear medicine methods are used in the differential diagnosis of heart failure.
The priority in the treatment process is to stop the tissue damage and to eliminate the symptoms that affect daily life, while maintaining the current health status of the person.
The lifestyle and nutritional habits of the patient are examined. And recommendations are made to support the treatment of heart failure. In addition, treatment with medication or surgical methods can be planned according to the current state of the disease.
Depending on the severity of the disease and the complaint status, drugs are used in the treatment process.
Medicines used in this context;
- Diuretics ,
- Beta Blockers,
- Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors,
- Rhythm Modifiers,
- Blood Thinner,
- Aldosterone Blockers,
- They are angiotensin receptor blockers and cholesterol lowerers.
If there is a problem in the electrical conduction of the heart or an abnormality in the heart rhythm is observed within the scope of device treatment and surgical intervention, special devices such as pacemakers are used to reduce the patient’s complaints and prolong the life span.
Apart from this, stent placement in the heart vessel, bypass surgery and heart valve surgery may be required.
Of course, heart transplantation can be said to be the most effective and permanent treatment method for advanced heart failure.