Eshealthtips.com – If you suspect that you have Heart Failure, your physician may perform several tests, including blood tests, urine tests, and an electrocardiogram. These tests will determine the heart’s function and look for chemical markers of the disease. A chest x-ray can show if there is fluid in the lungs or an enlarged heart. An electrocardiogram records the electrical activity of the heart and can help identify if the patient has already experienced a heart attack.
Identifying Potential Heart Conditions
If your doctor has identified a potential heart condition, you may be prescribed medication. In general, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends using an ACE inhibitor, which is an oral medication. Other prescriptions may include an angiotensin II receptor blocker, which attaches a healthy artery to a damaged one. Patients with heart failure should discuss any new medications or lifestyle changes with their physician. Speaking to others about your condition can help relieve anxiety and provide support.
Although treatment options for heart failure vary, some lifestyle changes are recommended to prevent the condition. Reducing salt intake, keeping a healthy weight, and exercising regularly may all reduce the chances of developing this condition. Left untreated, heart failure can lead to a more serious condition called congestive heart failure. If not treated, this condition can result in blood or fluid retention in other organs and limbs. Some complications of heart failure may even lead to a heart attack.
There are various types of heart failure, according to how efficiently the heart pumps blood. The ejection fraction is the percentage of blood pumped out with every heartbeat. If this number is less than half, then it is considered a mild condition. If it is above 40%, the condition is classified as moderate. If your heart has severe heart failure, you may experience extreme fatigue and palpitations. You will most likely need to undergo a heart transplant.
The Most Accurate Test for Diagnosing Heart Failure
Although heart failure often begins gradually and is not always detectable by symptoms, it is essential to visit your physician as soon as possible to have the condition diagnosed. You may experience leg swelling, an irregular heartbeat, or bulging neck veins. The echocardiogram is the most accurate test for heart failure diagnosis. It allows your doctor to identify the cause and guide treatment. An echocardiogram can provide images of your heart’s function, as well as the damage it has caused to the heart muscles.
Heart failure treatment usually focuses on slowing the progression of symptoms and limiting the severity of the disease. Treatment is usually life-long, and involves changes in diet, medicines, and sometimes a device that protects the heart against abnormal heart rhythms. If left untreated, the disease can lead to serious complications, including death. While you cannot completely prevent the development of heart failure, you can take steps to limit its occurrence. The best course of treatment is prevention. If you notice any symptoms, contact your physician immediately.
Your provider will discuss your symptoms with you and determine if heart failure is the cause of the symptoms. The doctor will recommend treatment options and determine whether to treat aggressively or provide comfort care. A combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and addressing the underlying condition can control heart failure. However, if you have heart failure that is severe enough, medication and lifestyle changes will not provide any relief. In the case of severe heart failure, your doctor will recommend surgery or implant a defibrillator.
Treatment for Heart Failure
Treatment for heart failure depends on the cause and severity. It may involve medications, surgery, or a procedure, such as a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Other conditions can also cause heart failure. The causes of heart failure are often unknown, which limits the effectiveness of treatment. However, there are several medications available that can alleviate symptoms and prevent the onset of heart failure. These medicines and lifestyle changes are all important in treating heart failure.
If the condition isn’t treated in time, the patient may undergo a heart valve procedure. A heart valve procedure, called balloon valvuloplasty, can repair or replace the affected heart valve. An implantable left ventricular assist device (LVA), called an artificial heart, is used for this procedure. It helps pump blood throughout the body and allows patients to be mobile. Eventually, a heart transplant will replace the diseased heart with a donor’s heart.
Although the term ‘heart failure is commonly used for congestive heart failure, it is still a serious condition that requires medical treatment. If the heart is failing to pump blood effectively, this condition can cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, and breathlessness. While there is no cure for heart failure, most patients can live a long and productive life with treatment. A doctor will assess the signs and symptoms of heart failure and prescribe the appropriate medications.
Januzzi, James L., et al. “NT-proBNP testing for diagnosis and short-term prognosis in acute destabilized heart failure: an international pooled analysis of 1256 patients: the International Collaborative of NT-proBNP Study.” European heart journal 27.3 (2006): 330-337.
Leite, Sara, et al. “Echocardiography and invasive hemodynamics during stress testing for diagnosis of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: an experimental study.” American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology 308.12 (2015): H1556-H1563.