Friday, December 11, 2015

Heart failure

What is heart failure?

Heart failure, also referred to as congestive heart failure, is a condition wherein the heart does not pump enough amount of blood. As a result of this, the heart is unable to meet the body’s requirement for blood and oxygen.

What causes heart failure?

The condition of heart failure develops when the muscles of the heart have either become weak or are too stiff to pump adequate blood. The various conditions that diminish the ability of the heart to pump blood include coronary artery disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, disease of the heart muscle and abnormal heart valves.

What are the different types of heart failure?

There are about 4 different types of heart failure. These include:
  • Left – sided heart failure, that develops when fluid gets accumulated in the lungs causing breathlessness to set in
  • Right - sided heart failure, wherein the fluid gets accumulated in the abdomen, feet and legs, causing swelling in the affected areas
  • Systolic heart failure, indicates a problem with ventricle functioning, which doesn’t allow the heart muscles to pump blood
  • Diastolic heart failure, characterized by the inability of the left ventricle to relax and simultaneously fill the blood

How does heart failure spread?

Heart failure is not a contagious disease and therefore does not spread from person to person.

What are the symptoms of heart failure?

The following are the signs and symptoms of heart failure:
  •  Breathlessness
  •  Onset of fatigue
  • Edema
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Weight gain due to fluid build up
  • Poor appetite
  • Decreased capacity to exercise
  • Coughing up pink – tinged mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Ascites
  • Increased urge to urinate at night hours

What is the treatment of heart failure?

Treatment of heart failure is focused on correcting the underlying condition that is causing the problem. Medication such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, diuretics, beta blockers, inotropes, digoxin and aldosterone antagonists are administered depending on the type of problem. In severe cases, surgical procedures may have to be employed for treating heart failure. These include coronary bypass surgery, replacement or repair of a heart valve, implantable cardioverter – defibrillators, heart pumps and heart transplant.

How can heart failure be prevented?

The various preventive steps that can be adhered to prevent heart failure include the following:
  • Quitting smoking
  • Exercising regularly
  • Losing excess weight
  • Staying physically fit and active
  • Effective stress management
  • Keeping diabetes and high blood pressure under check

Diet and lifestyle changes in heart failure?

Individuals who have suffered from heart failure, need to make changes in their dietary pattern. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat is preferable. Foods that can be taken include lean meat, fish, nuts, seeds, seafood, peas and beans. Foods with high potassium content should also be included in the daily diet. Apart from dietary recommendations, individuals are also advised to exercise regularly and keep their weight and stress under control. In addition, limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking are some of the required changes that one needs to follow.

What is Ayurvedic treatment of heart failure?

Various herbs that are used in the treatment of heart failure include terminalia arjuna, bacopa monneiri, cinnamomum zeylanica, elettaria cardamomum, boerhavia diffusa and withania somnifera.

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