Heart Failure: Love Me, Love My Heart
Heart attack or cardiac arrest is a sudden condition that can befall anyone regardless of age or gender. Knowing how to handle it properly and promptly is important as it can save lives.
Why Heart Fails?
Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle breakdowns and is unable to pump and circulate enough oxygen-rich blood around your body. When this happens, you become tired, fatigued and bloated from fluid build-up in your body. This condition can be fatal depending on the health condition of each person.
Heart Failure in Children
Heart failure can develop even in fetus! It occurs when the heart and blood circulatory system do not work properly. This can lead to disability or death if the baby does not receive prompt diagnosis and proper treatment. Unborn baby with heart failure is at risk of developmental delay, malnutrition, excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, hyperventilation, enlarged heart and kidney. These conditions are usually caused by heart muscle problems and congenital heart disease which require treatment by a heart specialist as soon as possible. To help with the diagnosis, doctors usually utilize ECG, X-ray of the lungs, or echocardiography, depending on other symptoms as well as severity of the condition.
Heart Failure in Teenagers
Most teenagers can experience heart failure also. This may be a result of some congenital heart diseases such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, myocardial ischemia, myocarditis, heart valve infection, or a previously unnoticed heart ailment. The sooner the condition is diagnosed, the better the chance of a successful treatment. However, teenagers do not normally have regular heart check-ups, so they need to self-monitor their health and consult a heart specialist promptly if an anomaly is noticed. Common symptoms include tiring easily (e.g., when walking upstairs and feeling unusually fatigued), pain and tightness in the left chest, difficulty breathing, blue lips (cyanosis), palpitation, fainting and fallen unconscious. They need to go to the hospital immediately as these conditions may be acute and become fatal.
Heart Failure in Adults
In adults, apart from a risk of acute heart failure which can be fatal, there is also a danger posed by other diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, coronary artery disease, myocarditis, valvular heart disease, palpitation, etc. Regular heart check-ups, therefore, are vital as they help you to identify any anomaly and to take care of yourself properly. Noticeable symptoms of heart failure include feeling tired easily, unable to breath while lying on your back, waking up during the night because you cannot breathe, swollen feet or legs, bloating due to indigestion, unusual fluid retention in various parts around the body, fatigue, anxiety, fainting and fallen unconscious. In addition, if you have previously suffered a heart attack (myocardial infarction), you face a higher risk of heart failure than other people.
Heart Failure in Elderly
An elderly person possesses a greater risk of heart failure than people in other age groups. The higher the age, the greater the risk – particularly an elderly who also has other comorbidities such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, being a smoker, myocarditis, valvular heart disease, palpitation, coronary artery disease, myocarditis, etc. Noticeable symptoms include feeling fatigued, tiring easily, chest tightness, unable to lie flat, difficulty breathing, swelling in the legs or feet that leaves a dent after being pressed, bloating, indigestion, anxiety, elevated heartbeats, as well as other neurological conditions such as feeling dazed and confused, fainting, fallen unconscious due to the lack of circulating blood from the heart. Therefore, if you experience any of these symptoms – however slight it may be – you should consult a heart specialist urgently. Moreover, the most important thing is to have your heart checked regularly every year.
Heart Failure Treatment
Treatment for a heart failure depends primarily on the symptom and severity of the condition. Firstly, you need to see a heart specialist immediately if you feel tightness of the chest, difficulty breathing, or easily tired. The treatment may include the use of a ventilator, especially if the patient cannot breathe. Or, if the lungs are retaining too much liquid, the doctor will prescribe diuretic and other medication, to help alleviate the symptoms. In severe cases, more involved treatments may be urgently required – such as coronary angiography leading to balloon angioplasty, pacemaker implant, etc. For extreme cases, treatments may include heart valve repair or, even, a heart transplant. It will be contingent upon the heart specialist diagnosis and recommendation. So, it is important for the patient to keep regular appointments with the doctor.
How to Prevent Heart Failure
- Be aware of any unusual symptom.
- Obtain a good understanding about heart failure conditions.
- Maintain regular cardiology check-up for yourself and loved ones as recommended by your doctor.
- If you have a comorbidity, you must keep and take your medicines as prescribed by your doctor along with taking care of your health.
- Select nutritious foods, exercise regularly, and rest sufficiently.
- Abstain from smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages.
- Maintain a healthy mental state and away from depression.
- If you suffer from a heart disease, you should not travel alone but with a companion every trip.
Importance of Comprehensive Heart’s Health Examination
A heart disease often does not exhibit any clear symptom, but it can be fatal without warning at any time. Therefore, a comprehensive assessment of your heart’s health every year is very crucial. It is important not for yours only, but also for the hearts of every one in your family as well as of your loved ones’. The health of everybody’s heart is essential and should not be overlooked. Especially for those who are in high risk of heart diseases and elderly groups, they should be under the care of a heart specialist. Remember, the sooner the disease is diagnosed, the better the preparedness and the future prognosis. This, subsequently, will lead to proper treatment that will keep your heart healthy for a long time to come.