Acute and chronic heart failure: Causes, symptoms and treatments
The heart failure can be acute or chronic, leading to different causes, symptoms and treatment. It can be defined in medical terms as the inability of the heart to pump enough blood and meet the normal needs of the body and its organs.
Heart failure can enhance water retention in the lungs and peripheral tissues. It is defined as acute when it appears as a result of a sudden event like a heart attack; and chronic when it manifests and develops slowly. The prevention, as in any chapter of health is essential, and therefore it is necessary to understand what are the main symptoms to recognize it as soon as possible.
Behind this disease there can be different causes. Thus, heart failure may develop as a result of cardiac injury, for example, after a heart attack, but also due to valvular dysfunction or pulmonary arterial hypertension. And the list is long, as heart failure can occur as a disorder associated with various diseases such as valvular heart disease, anemia, thyroid disease, pulmonary embolism, arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, hemochromatosis, amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, previous heart attacks, high cholesterol, allergic reactions, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, endocarditis, myocarditis or diabetes. Age and renal failure may also be a risk factor.
Symptoms are not always obvious and even in its early stages the disease can be asymptomatic.
The most common symptom is dyspnea or shortness of breath, caused by congestion of the lungs that, in mild cases, only occurs after making an intense effort, while the bass is accompanied by cough and difficulty to sleep lying down. In fact, the patient may be forced to sit in order to be able to breathe without difficulty.
Other common symptoms include weakness and fatigue, lack of blood in the muscles, and difficulty concentrating, confusion, anxiety, memory loss and insomnia, by decreasing blood in the brain. In the initial stage of heart failure can be increased diuresis, especially at night, and fluid accumulation in the lower extremities. Swelling or abdominal pain, nausea, pulmonary edema, shortness of breath, cyanosis, palpitations, tachycardia and loss of appetite are other symptoms that may occur.
Before the appearance of these signs we must consult the doctor to have an accurate diagnosis, through evaluation of symptoms and specific tests to determine the most appropriate treatment. In addition to the heart, also there will be realized an evaluation of the lungs, abdomen and legs, as well as a complete analysis to rule out any other medical conditions. Remember that early diagnosis increases the chance of cure, particularly avoiding complications such as kidney failure, valvular heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, liver damage or sudden death.
Logically, the pharmacological treatment depends on the cause that causes heart failure. In the most severe cases may require heart surgery, to repair or replace a defective valve, for the implantation of a cardiac device or even a heart transplant when heart failure is irreversible and can endanger the patient’s life.
Diet and natural remedies
The prevention, as we have pointed out, plays a key role, and for heart care the most important thing is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This includes following a healthy and balanced diet, performs moderate physical exercise, eliminate tobacco and alcohol, reducing stress levels and control body weight. If we have been diagnosed with a problem of heart failure should follow a low-fat diet and to reduce, as much as possible, salt ingestion, as it promotes water retention and forces the heart to work harder. Finally, one of the natural remedies, hawthorn extract is a good ally to help relieve the symptoms of heart failure.