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Heart Failure

Heart Failure

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Heart failure is the incapability of heart to pump sufficient amount of blood, disrupting all significant and crucial body functions. Heart failure may occur either on the left or the right side of the heart or sometimes even both sides at the same time. The left-side is the most common type of heart failure. Various symptoms may not be exact or precise for heart disease, however this disease can be inherited from family, thus in case someone whose family had a history of heart disease, sudden weight gain, experiences excessive fatigue, loss of appetite, coughing, irregular pulse, heart palpitations, abdominal swelling, shortness of breath, leg and ankle swelling and protruding veins should seek medical attention (Goldman, 2011). Left heart failure occurs when the left ventricle doesn’t pump blood efficiently and consequently the body doesn’t receive adequate oxygen-rich blood. The blood backs up into the lungs resulting in shortness of breath and fluid accumulation. In response to this, the backup of blood in the lungs caused by the left heart failure overloads the right ventricle causing its failure.

Several tests can be taken for appropriate medications and treatments to be considered. These tests may include electrocardiogram that records the heart’s rhythm, an echocardiogram that records the heart’s structure and motion and an MRI to take pictures the heart. After the diagnosis procedures, different treatments are considered according to the health condition. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or vasodilators to open up narrowed blood vessels, beta-blockers to reduce blood pressure and slow down a rapid heart rhythm (Goldman, 2011). Surgery may only be performed when the medications are not effective. Procedures such as angioplasty and heart valve repair surgery could be considered to open up blocked arteries and help the valves close and open properly.

Chronic heart failure is a condition where the symptoms of an existing heart disease worsen. Acute heart failure can be caused by include hypertension, coronary artery disease (CAD), and valve condition (Chronic Heart Failure, 2010). Hypertension is a state where the pressure of the blood is higher than normal; this happens when the vessels become constrained by cholesterol and fat making it harder for blood to pass through them, resulting in difficulties to pumping of the blood. CAD is caused by blockage of the coronary arteries by fatty acids, making the arteries narrow and results in restricted flow of blood or even destroying the arteries. The condition of the valves also is a cause for acute heart failures. If the valves don’t open and close properly, they may force the ventricles to strain when pumping blood. It may result in a heart defect. In addition to this joint primary care diagnoses results, there are some unrelated conditions that increase the risks heart failures, including diabetes, obesity and thyroid disease (Chronic Heart Failure, 2010). One should seek evaluation and treatment once these symptoms are experienced first; they should not be ignored as they are not unique to symptoms of heart failure.

The gold standard for heart failure is the most common and agreeable diagnostic criteria. These approaches involve measuring the brain natriuretic peptide and performing the ultrasound of the heart afterwards if positive. The process may include imaging or echocardiography to support the clinical diagnosis of heart defection, electrophysiology to identify arrhythmias and right and left ventricular hypertrophy and also performing blood tests such as the BNP test that is concrete and indicative of heart failure.

References

(Aug 2010). Chronic Heart Failure: National Clinical Guideline for Diagnosis and Management in Primary and Secondary Care: Partial Update". National Clinical Guideline Centre: 38–70.

Goldman, L. (2011). Goldman's Cecil Medicine: Heart Failure (Ch 58, 59) (24th Ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders. pp. 295–317.


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