If you have difficulty in breathing and get tired easily even on short distance walks, the reason may be heart failure. It is in your hands to prevent heart failure, which wakes you up at night and manifests itself with palpitations, from shortening your life. Pointing out that people with heart failure in their families are more likely to face the risk of heart failure, Prof. Dr. Ali Rıza Cenal, Chief Physician at Avrasya Hospital shares important information on heart failure.
What is heart failure?
Factors such as narrowed arteries or blood pressure in the heart cause fatigue of the heart. In some cases, heart failure develops due to infection. Heart failure occurs with low blood pressure, weakness, edema, weight gain and shortness of breath. It may not be possible to eliminate every factor that causes the disease. However, the symptoms can be improved with treatment and the standard of living can be increased.
There are factors that trigger the disease…
Heart failure, which usually occurs as a result of damage to the heart muscle, begins to carry a high risk with aging. The main factors that play a role in the emergence of the disease are as follows;
- Hypertension: With an uncontrolled rise in blood pressure, the structure of the heart deteriorates and heart failure occurs as a result.
- Heart valve diseases: It occurs as a result of heart valves not opening and closing as they should.
- Heart attack: As a result of cardiovascular occlusion, a heart attack develops, it cannot provide enough oxygen to the heart muscle and the cells in the heart muscle die.
- Aging: Heart failure is generally seen in people over the age of 35. With aging, the heart’s ability to contract and pump blood decreases, resulting in heart failure.
Do not ignore the symptoms!
Heart failure is both a chronic and a sudden, acute disease. It makes itself felt especially with shortness of breath and congestion. Besides;
- Getting tired quickly,
- Chest pain and palpitations,
- The need to sleep on a high pillow,
- Intermittent breathing,
- Swelling in legs and feet,
- Getting fat,
- Weakness and fatigue,
- Difficulty in breathing,
- Symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat are among the signs of heart failure.
What kind of path is followed in diagnosis and treatment?
In the diagnosis of heart failure, first of all, the patient’s complaints and history are listened to. Afterwards, some tests are requested by performing a physical examination. The disease is diagnosed with tests such as blood test, EKG, chest x-ray, stress test, echocardiogram. Appropriate treatment is then initiated.
There are two important goals in the treatment of heart failure. The first is to reduce the symptoms in the patient by eliminating the cause and to provide relief for the patient, and the second is to prolong the life of the patient by eliminating the risk of death. After the examination, an appropriate treatment method is determined for the patient. Depending on the cause and level of the disease, vasodilators and blood thinners can be applied. Medications may vary according to the stage of the disease. In cases where drug treatment is not sufficient, the treatments to be applied are as follows;
- Pacemaker: In cases where the heart’s pumping power is severely reduced, a pacemaker placement surgery can be applied in order for the heart to work regularly.
- Bypass: The risk of heart attack arises due to the narrowing of the coronary artery. In such cases, coronary stent-bypass operation is applied to prevent the risk of obstruction, narrowing and heart attack.
- Heart transplantation: If the current treatment methods do not improve and the disease progresses, a heart transplantation is required. Symptoms are minimized after a heart transplant.
Nutritional recommendations for patients
It is very important for patients with heart failure to pay attention to their diet in order to improve their quality of life. Patients should primarily limit the use of salt, focus on fruit and vegetable consumption, and include foods with high nutritional value such as cereals and fish in their meals. The amount of potassium that the body needs should be met with fruits with high potassium value such as apricots, bananas and oranges, and the need for magnesium with oilseeds and vegetables. Patients should consume 1.5-2 liters of fluid per day, and avoid alcohol and cigarettes.