There are ailments including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and coronary artery disease that can leave the heart too stiff or weak to pump efficiently. Over time, the heart becomes too weak to handle the demands placed on it. Lifestyle changes such as managing stress, losing weight, and reducing salt in your diet can reduce your risk of heart failure. Some symptoms of heart failure include irregular heartbeat, swelling in the legs and feet, lack of appetite, swelling of the abdomen, and chest pain. Here are some factors that can cause heart failure and require immediate medical attention.
An attack can occur as a result of a complication related to heart failure. Heart attack and heart failure are both forms of heart disease. An attack will generally happen when one of the arteries leading to the heart suddenly becomes blocked and cuts off blood flow. When the heart is deprived of oxygen, the heart muscle begins to die. Heart attacks can lead to heart failure by weakening the heart's pumping abilities, and in some cases, heart failure follows suddenly after an attack. Symptoms can be severe in the beginning but can get better with medication and treatment. They may include pressure in the center of the chest, discomfort in the stomach, nausea or vomiting, shallow breathing, and lightheadedness.
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High Blood Pressure
Most individuals who have heart failure also have high blood pressure (hypertension), which is a huge risk factor for heart failure. When blood flow is too strong, it pushes on the walls of the arteries, and the pressure makes small tears in your arteries that can cause scarring, making it easier for fat and cholesterol to build up. Over time, this buildup makes it difficult for blood to flow through your vessels causing your heart to work harder. Having your blood pressure checked frequently will help you avoid heart failure. Avoiding alcohol, cigarette smoke, and getting regular exercise can also help reduce your risk. Your physician can recommend an ACE inhibitor, beta-blocker, or an angiotensin II receptor blocker to treat hypertension.
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Faulty Heart Valves
The heart has four valves, mitral, aortic, pulmonary, and tricuspid, that keep the blood flowing in the right direction. Each valve opens and closes each time the heart beats. In most cases of heart valve disease and failure, one or more of the valves won't open or close properly. Heart valve disease treatment is dependent on the severity of the valve disease or that faulty heart valves affected. Some patients with heart valve disease will require surgery to replace or repair the valves. Heart valve disease may be present at birth or develop over time in adults. Faulty heart valve problems may include stenosis, regurgitation, and atresia. Your risk of heart valve disease increases as you age, have a history of infections that affect the heart or have diabetes.
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Heart arrhythmias or ventricular fibrillation occurs when the electrical impulses that coordinate heartbeats cause the heart to beat rapidly or too slow. While most heart arrhythmias are harmless, some can cause life-threatening symptoms. Noticeable symptoms include a racing heartbeat, fluttering in the chest, chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, and fainting. Treatment for arrhythmias can control irregular heartbeats, but you can also reduce your risk by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ventricular fibrillation can be deadly as it can cut off the blood supply to your vital organs. Many things can cause or lead to ventricular fibrillation including scarring of heart tissue, blocked arteries, hypothyroidism, smoking, and alcohol abuse.
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Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle. It makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body and can lead to heart failure. Treatment for cardiomyopathy includes a surgically implanted device, medication, or a heart transplant, depending on the severity. In the early stages, patients might show no signs or symptoms. However, as the condition advances, they may experience fatigue, abdominal bloating, swelling in the legs, breathlessness, dizziness, chest discomfort, or irregular heartbeats. Individuals should contact their doctor if they experience any of these symptoms. The cause of this condition is unknown, though it's usually inherited from a parent or a result of another condition.