Heart Failure Management and Education


Heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. In current times, heart failure has become more common. Although it mainly occurs in people of old age, heart failure can affect people at any age. Heart failure is not a disease but an illness. That means heart failure cannot be cured. However, heart failure can be controlled through various treatments and prevention. Heart failure can present a spectrum of symptoms and signs. They include.

1. Shortness of Breath
A common symptom of heart failure is shortness of breath. In such situations, the person may feel very tired while doing light activities and may have to pause while walking. Their breathing may also become quick and shallow. The person with heart failure is not able to take in as much air as he used to, so he may feel short of breath and out of breath when doing light activity.

2. Swelling of the Legs
A person with heart failure may experience swelling of the legs. This illness can cause the blood to flow through the veins much more slowly and block blood flow through larger arteries. This happens because the heart cannot pump blood fast enough, as it has lost its ability to push forcefully against its walls.

3. Palpitations (Fast or Irregular Heartbeat)
Palpitations are the sensation of the heart pounding, fluttering, or “skipping” a beat. Sometimes the heart beats very fast and feels like it is going to jump out of the chest. This is brought about by a disturbance in the electrical system of the heart. Palpitations may be accompanied by dizziness and/or sweating.

4. Chest Pain
Chest pain may be a symptom of heart failure in people who have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease and/or congestive heart failure. The pain is usually felt behind the breastbone which is the point where the very top rib meets the sternum. The cause of this chest pain is not clear. However, it is felt due to a mechanical problem with the beating of the left ventricle.

5. Nausea
Nausea is a symptom that is felt when the body is not working properly. In such cases, the person may feel sick to their stomach and vomit. It is one of the main symptoms of heart failure. Nausea can occur because the blood pressure in that area is not enough. The blood supply to the heart is poor and in such situations, the person feels nauseated.

6. Difficulty in Concentrating
A person with heart failure may experience difficulty in concentrating on certain tasks. This is because the brain’s blood supply is low, thus leading to a lack of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Thus, it is difficult to focus attention, think clearly, and remember things.

b. Diagnosis
If you suspect that you or someone you know has heart failure, it is important to be evaluated by a physician or cardiologist. It is important to detect the illness before an acute attack occurs. The doctor diagnoses heart failure through the methods listed below.

1. Blood Test
A blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to identify the presence of heart failure. It measures certain proteins, electrolytes, and other substances in the blood and represents the overall state of cardiovascular health

4. Electrocardiogram (ECG)
The ECG is a test that measures electrical activity in the body’s heart muscle by recording its electrical impulses. The doctor can use this information to look for signs of heart failure.

3. MRI
An MRI uses magnetic waves and radio waves to produce images of the body. It allows the doctor to examine internal organs, like the heart and brain, which are large and easily damaged. However, it is not very useful for small blood vessels like those found in the heart.

4. Myocardial biopsy
The doctor takes a small piece of heart tissue and examines it under a microscope. The doctor can determine the severity of heart failure by looking for certain structural changes.

Heart Failure Treatment

1. Diet
To manage heart failure, the person needs to follow a proper diet. This helps manage the symptoms. The person should eat a diverse diet with high potassium and low sodium. A diet with electrolytes can also help to control salt, water, and blood pressure levels. A low-salt diet may help a person with heart failure lose weight, as it is believed that this diet helps to repair the muscle damage caused by heart failure.

2. Medication
There are various medications available to manage heart failure. They are designed to help the heart pump more blood and reduce fluid. The main groups of medications are ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and vasodilators. They help in controlling symptoms of heart failure.

2. Exercise
People with heart failure are advised to do regular physical activities. According to concierge medicine, it is advisable to take part in regular aerobic exercises such as walking, biking, and swimming. They help in strengthening the body for everyday tasks as well as improve the quality and length of life for patients with heart failure.

4. Surgery
In some cases, Heart Surgery may be recommended. Doctors know that in these cases, patients would need to take medicines continuously for the rest of their lives. In such situations, they use surgical methods to widen the heart’s bottom chambers (ventricles). This helps in improving blood flow to the body and improves symptoms of heart failure.

5. Implants
In some cases, if medicines don’t work, implanting a device to help the heart pump blood properly may be recommended. The devices, known as ventricular assist devices (VADs), are implanted around the heart to help it do its job better.

If you live in Fort Lauderdale, understanding heart failure is the first step on the road to management and prevention. This means that we must first acknowledge the nature of heart failure as a disorder and understand its implications for human life and health. With advancements in technology, new treatments are being developed. So, more and more people with heart failure are receiving optimal care. Therefore you should not hesitate to seek medical help at once if you notice any of the symptoms associated with heart failure.

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