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Heart failure

Causes and symptoms of heart failure

What is congestive heart failure?

Heart failure is a number of disorders which are based on the low contractility of the heart muscle. There is a misconception that heart failure is a heart disease, but it is not. Heart failure is a condition in which your body does contractility of the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes weak, in the end, the heart can not fully provide the body with necessary amount of blood.

Very often, heart failure affects people with coronary heart disease and hypertension, and heart failure complicates many diseases of the cardiovascular system. Heart failure significantly reduces quality of life, and sometimes becomes the cause of death.

The symptoms of heart failure

Given the nature and course of the disease, heart failure is divided into acute and chronic. The disease manifests itself by the slowing of the General circulation, the amount of blood ejected by the heart, becomes smaller, in the chambers of the heart, the pressure increases. Excess blood volume, which failed heartstarts to accumulate in the so-called "depot" - the veins of the legs and abdomen.

The first symptoms of heart failure are weakness and fatigue.

Because the heart cannot cope with all the circulating blood volume, excess fluid from the blood stream begins to accumulate in various organs and tissues of the body, usually in the feet, calves, thighs, stomach and liver.

Due to the build up of pressure and accumulation of fluid in the lungs there is a violation of breath. In normal condition the oxygen is flowing without obstruction from a rich capillaries of the lung tissues into the General circulation, but fluid accumulation in the lungs, which occurs in heart failure, oxygen does not fully takes place in the capillaries. Breathing quickens due to the low concentration of oxygen in the blood. Very often the patient wakes up in the night from asthma attacks.

As example, consider the American President Roosevelt, who suffered heart failure. Very long time he could not sleep lying down, and slept sitting in a chair because of breathing problems.

The exhaust fluid from the blood stream into tissues and organs is able to stimulate not only breathing problems and sleep disorders. People rapidly gaining weightdue to swelling of soft tissue in the area of the feet, shins, thighs, and sometimes in the abdomen. When pressed with your finger, you can clearly feel the swelling.

In very severe cases fluid collects in the abdominal cavity. Begins a dangerous condition ascites. Ascites is a complication in advanced heart failure. In cases where some amount of fluid from the bloodstream goes into the lungs, begins to a condition called "pulmonary edema". Often, pulmonary edema occurs when the current chronic heart failure, accompanied by pink, with blood sputum while coughing.

Insufficiency of blood supply affects all organs and systems of the human body. Effect on the Central nervous system in the elderly affects the reduction of mental activity.

Left side or right?

The symptoms of heart failure depend on which side of the heart involved in the process. The left atrium (upper heart chamber) receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it into the left ventricle (lower chamber), which pumps the blood to other organs. If the left side of the heart is not able to fully promote the blood that is thrown back into the pulmonary vessels, and excess fluid seeps through the capillaries into the alveoli, causing difficulty breathing. Another symptom of left-sided heart failure are weakness and excessive secretion of mucus ( sometimes with blood).

Right-sided failure occurs when hampered outflow of blood from the right atrium and right ventricle, it happens in the poor performance of the heart valve. In the end, the pressure increases and fluid accumulates in the veins terminating in the right chambers of the heart - the veins of the liver and legs. The liver increases in volume, pain, leg badly swollen. When right-sided failure is seen the phenomenon of nocturia – increased nocturnal urination, excess day.

In congestive heart failure, kidney is not able to handle large volumes of liquid, formed as a result of renal failure. Salt, which in normal condition is excreted by the kidneys along with water is retained in the body, thus the swelling increases. When you remove the main causes – heart failure – renal failure disappears.

Causes of heart failure

There are many reasons for the development of heart failure. One of the main is,coronary heart disease and insufficient blood supplyof the heart muscle.

In turn, the ischemia is caused by blockage of the heart fat-like substances. Another cause of heart failure may be a heart attack, as some part of the heart tissue dies and seroprevalence.

The next cause of heart failure - arterial hypertension. To promote blood spazmirovannah vessels need a lot of power, eventually the heart, namely the left ventricle increases in size. Further, growing weakness of the heart muscle or heart failure.

One of the reasons influencing the development of heart failure, is cardiac arrhythmia (irregular reductions). If the number of more than 140 beats per minute, this is dangerous and contributes to the development of the disease, since the processes of filling and ejection of blood by the heart broken.

In the event of any changes in the valves of the heart, violations of the filling of the heart with blood, and it also contributes to the development of heart failure. Often the problem is caused by internal infectious process (endocarditis) or rheumatic disease.

Inflammation of the heart muscle due to infections, alcohol or toxic lesions also leads to the development of heart failure.

However, it is not always possible to determine precisely the cause that caused the heart failure. Such condition is called idiopathic heart failure.

Classification of heart failure

Depending on the manifestations of the disease at different stages of such classification:

Class 1: limitations in physical activity and influence on quality of life there.

Class 2: slight limitation of physical activity no discomfort at rest.

Class 3: significant decline in health, the symptoms do not bother you during your vacation.

Class 4: loss of working capacity fully or partially, all the symptoms of heart failure and chest pain, disturbing, even during recreation.


Approximately 50 % of patients with a diagnosis of "heart failure" living with this disease for more than five years. Although to make predictions is necessary for each individual patient, given the severity of the disease, concomitant diseases, age, effectiveness of therapy, lifestyle and many other factors. In the treatment of this disease pursues these goals: improving the work of the left ventricle, improving the quality of life and rehabilitation of the patient. The early treatment delivers the best results and life expectancy is greatly improved.