Heart failure, causes, symptoms and treatment
The heart is a muscle that consists of two Atria and two chambers. Muscle contraction causes the release of blood from the heart at the appropriate pressure and provides all organs with oxygen and nutrients. Between the ventricles and between the chambers and major arteries (aorta and pulmonary artery) there are special valves that allow blood to flow in only one direction.
During one stroke of each chamber of the heart is about 70 ml of blood. During the day the heart pumps 7 200 liters of blood and, therefore, more than 7 tons of blood. Damage to the heart muscle or heart valves can lead to congestive heart failure. This disease affects approximately 3% of the population, and the incidence increases with age and in people over 70 years by more than 10%.
Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to provide sufficient blood to the organs in our body, which leads to a reduction of the so-called cardiac output and reduced tolerance to physical load. This is usually a result of damage to the heart muscle or heart valves.
The symptoms of this disorder appear in the consequence of poor oxygen supply to the organs. During the development of this disease there is fluid retention in the body, shortness of breath on exertion, lower extremity swelling, heart palpitations.
As the disease manifests itself?
The symptoms of this disease vary depending on the severity and its causes. It can be:
- a sudden or gradual decrease of tolerance to physical exertion with shortness of breath on exertion and palpitations;
- shortness of breath at rest – the need to breathe in sitting or standing;
- paroxysmal dyspnea at night;
- cough at night in the supine position;
- peripheral edema, for example, the knee or the entire leg;
- enlargement of the liver;
- an increase in the frequency of heart beats above 90 per minute.
In the case of any of the above signs, you should immediately consult a specialist.
For the assessment of cardiac function, the physician should be to measure your blood pressure, listen to the patient’s stethoscope – heart, lungs. The patient needs to do chest x-ray, ECG and an echocardiogram of the heart.
The most common causes of this disease is the presence of ischemia, and hypertension. Ischemia is considered to be one of the first causes of heart failure. Hypertension leads to cardiac hypertrophy and its functional disorders and is also considered one of the main risk factors for developing ischemia.
Other factors in the development of this disease: valvular heart disease (congenital and acquired), myocarditis, cardiomyopathy or other disease, heart attack, pathology of the heart rhythm, such as atrial fibrillation.
To prevent the development of heart failure should be diagnosed and treated diseases, which are considered factors in the occurrence.
Early diagnosis of heart disease and taking lipid-lowering drugs can prevent the development of atherosclerosis and its complications – ischemia, and therefore a potential cause of heart failure.
The treatment of the disease largely depends on its causes, which must be determined after diagnostic tests such as blood tests, echocardiography of the heart, measurement of pressure, x-rays of the chest, examination of the Holter-ECG. The doctor may refer you to hospital for coronary angiography to diagnose or exclude coronary artery disease as the cause of heart failure. In severe cases, heart failure with severe shortness of breath and pulmonary edema, the need for inpatient treatment.