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Heart Failure

Signs of Heart Failure?

Heart failure (aka congestive heart failure) is an inadequate functioning of the heart muscle that often develops after other conditions have damaged or weakened the heart. It can also occur if the heart becomes too stiff. It can be ongoing (chronic), or it may start suddenly (acute). Some of the symptoms include rapid weight gain caused by fluid buildup and shortness of breath, a fast heart rate, a lingering cough, swelling in the feet, legs, or abdomen, extreme fatigue, nausea or loss of appetite.

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Signs of a Heart Attack: Men vs. Women

The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person. Some people don’t have any symptoms at all. Men’s heart attack symptoms are often described as chest pain that feels like a crushing weight on the chest. Women’s heart attack symptoms may also include chest pain, but more likely to have different, subtler symptoms for three or four weeks before a heart attack. Coronary artery disease (CAD) in women is sometimes hard to diagnose and often affects the small arteries, which cannot be clearly seen during cardiac catheterization.

Systolic Heart Failure

This condition occurs when the heart muscle becomes weak and enlarged. When the ventricles contract, it isn’t capable of pumping enough blood throughout the body. The measurement of how much blood your heart pumps with each beat is called ejection fraction – and with systolic heart failure, that measurement is lower than expected. The byproduct is backed-up blood in the lungs, shortness of breath, and eventually edema, or ankle swelling.

Diastolic Heart Failure

In this case, the heart muscle becomes stiff instead of weakened. As a result, it cannot relax between contractions. It keeps blood from filling up the ventricles as needed. Even though the ejection fraction is often in the normal range, the condition still causes a backup of blood in the body. The backup can impact numerous organs, such as the liver.

The signs and symptoms of systolic and diastolic heart failure

Fortunately for you, there are several signs and symptoms of heart failure. Keeping a close eye on your heart health is an excellent idea. Some of the symptoms include rapid weight gain caused by fluid buildup and shortness of breath. Many patients experience a fast heart rate and a lingering cough. Others will notice swelling in the feet, legs, or abdomen. Nearly all patients suffer from extreme fatigue. Lastly, many will notice frequent nausea or loss of appetite.

Heart Failure Treatment

At Touro Heart & Vascular Care in New Orleans, treatment depends on your individual diagnosis. For example, if heart failure stems from a valve problem, a procedure such as TAVR may be performed. If your problem is due to high blood pressure or blood sugar levels, then medication, weight loss, and lifestyle changes like smoking cessation might be recommended. If you develop severe heart failure or serious arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) you may need an implantable defibrillator or pacemaker. If you have had a heart attack, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure such as angioplasty or coronary stenting, or possibly more invasive such as open-heart bypass surgery.

Advanced Congestive Heart Failure

Advanced congestive heart failure (CHF) means the condition has progressed to where traditional therapies and symptom management are no longer working. Someone with advanced heart failure feels shortness of breath and other symptoms even at rest. Sometimes called cardiac asthma, it is caused by the backup of fluid in the left side of the heart due to a heart that pumps weakly, a leaky valve or a heart defect When congestive heart failure progresses to an advanced stage, there are still treatment options. The decisions – ranging from “do everything possible” to “strive for comfort” – aren’t easy. Touro’s CHF Program and medical teamwork in partnership with you. Shared decision-making means you don’t have to make decisions on your own.

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