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What is Heart Failure?

The term ‘heart failure’ sounds as if a heart is not working anymore and nothing can rescue it. However, the meaning of heart failure is that the heart is not adequately pumping as effectively as it should. Congestive Heart Failure is a kind of heart ailment which needs seek timely medical care, however, sometimes these 2 terms are interchanged while being used.Our body is dependent upon the heart’s pumping of oxygen & nutrient rich blood to the cells of our body. The body functions normally when the cells are properly nourished.

Heart Failure Causes

Post heart failure, a weak heart is unable to supply adequate blood to the cells which cause shortness of breath and fatigue and few patients have a cough too. Daily activities like walking, carrying groceries and using stairs can become tough.

Usually there is no cure for heart failure, however, many patients with a heart failure live a joyful life when they are managed with the medications of heart failure and leading the healthy lifestyle.

Heart failure is the chronic and progressive condition wherein muscles of the heart are not able to adequately pump blood as per the body’s need for oxygen and blood. Basically, the heart is unable to bear its workload.

Initially, our heart tries making up for this by:-

  • Enlarging: The heart expands and contracts more strongly & keeps up to meet the demand of blood. This leads the heart to get enlarged over time.
  • Developing more mass of muscle: The increase in mass of muscles takes place as the contracting cells of the heart become bigger. This causes the heart to pump more strongly, at least initially.
  • Pumping faster: This assists in increasing the output of the heart.

Our body also makes attempts of compensating in other ways:-

  • Constriction of blood vessels: Blood vessels constrict for keeping the blood pressure up and trying to compensate for the loss of power of the heart
  • Blood flow: Body deters blood away from the less important organs and tissues such as kidneys, heart, and brain

These temporary steps hide the problem of heart failure but do not resolve the problem. Heart failure worsens until these alternative steps stop working. Finally, heart and body are unable to keep up and the patient feels fatigue, problems in breathing and other symptoms that generally urge to visit a doctor.

It is recommended that people should get regular checkups done because in heart failure cases, due to these compensation mechanisms of our body we may not realize the real problem until after our heart experiences trouble.  Heart failure can involve heart’s right or left side or even both. Usually, it affects heart’s left side initially.

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