Heart failure — this dire-sounding term often brings to mind a heart that has beat its last. Not so. Heart failure means that the heart isn’t able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Common effects of heart failure include fatigue, shortness of breath, and swelling in the legs.
Many people are surprised to learn that heart failure is often a manageable condition. Taking medications, balancing exercise and rest, following a low-sodium diet, and being careful about fluid intake can help keep it in check. But heart failure can be unpredictable. After a long stretch of being under control, it can flare up, and even require a hospital stay.
Sometimes these flare-ups come from out of the blue, caused by an infection or a medication. Most of the time, though, they creep up, announcing themselves with subtle changes like being more tired than usual or quickly gaining several pounds.
Warning signs of worsening heart failure
If you have heart failure, call your doctor if you notice any of these signs:
· Sudden weight gain (2–3 pounds in one day or 5 or more pounds in one week)
· Extra swelling in the feet or ankles
· Swelling or pain in the abdomen
· Shortness of breath not related to exercise
· Discomfort or trouble breathing when lying flat
· Waking up feeling short of breath
· Coughing or wheezing
· Increased fatigue
· Mental confusion
· Loss of appetite
To effectively monitor your symptoms, you need to know the signs of trouble. This can be tricky because symptoms may seem to come and go and it can be hard to tell the difference between the side effects of medications and the symptoms of heart failure itself, especially if they’re mild.
Even small shifts can be significant. By writing down any new symptoms or changes in existing ones, you can track changes over time. At the end of each day, fill in your symptoms and note their severity on a scale of one to five.
As you look at your records, ask yourself:
- Are there any patterns in my symptoms?
- Do my symptoms seem to be getting better or worse?
- Am I having any new symptoms?
- Is there anything I haven’t written down?
Most important, stay in close communication with your doctor and healthcare team. Together you can catch changes in your condition early and help avoid complications.
Time is essence in a heart attack situation. There is enough evidence in favor of timely medical intervention to save heart muscles from irrecoverable damage. Awareness, speed of action and access to a well-equipped cardiac setup is essential to deal with heart emergencies. This continuum is known as acute care or emergency care.
Technique to cure heart diseases without a major surgery like open heart for valve repair and coronary artery bypass grafting (bypass surgery) is known as interventional management in cardiology. Doctors specializing in these minimal invasive techniques are called interventional cardiologists. This requires an in-depth patient assessment before deciding whether a patient need major surgery or minimal invasive procedure or interventional management.
Long Term Care
Patient with chronic heart conditions need regular follow ups. A cardiologist’s training equips him with necessary expertise to manage quality of life of such patients. This become even more important when patient has multiple conditions like diabetes, high BP, kidney disorders and also need treatment for heart failure.
If anyone having symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen legs, and rapid heartbeat – this could be heart failure. Treatments can be simple reducing salt intake, fluid intake and taking medication. In some cases, a cardiac implantable defibrillator or pacemaker may be implanted.
Angina & Chest Pain
Chest pain or angina originated by a heart condition or blocked artery described typically as:
- Difficult to pinpoint
- More like fullness or tightness in the chest
- Pressurizing in the chest
- Pain that spreads to jaw, neck, shoulders, and arms
- Vomiting or cold sweat
When blood supply to heart muscles is impaired because of blood clot clogging coronary. It is medical emergency. Blood supply to heart muscle need to be restored to save heart muscle damage. Damage to heart muscle in medical term is called myocardial infarction or MI.
Breathing difficulties may have an underlined heart condition. Although in majority of situations breathing difficulty is also due lung conditions. Our heart and lungs are involved in transporting oxygen to tissues and eliminating carbon dioxide, and problems with either of these processes affect your breathing. It recommended therefore to seek medical help in this situation.
Blackout or fainting can have other underlined causes, and sometime very minor ones. Since a patient can not evaluate himself or herself, it is advised to seek an assessment by a physician. A cardiologist will look for heart block and problem in heart rhythm system.
This stage requires lifestyle modification guided by expert. Patients may need to be put on medication along with a possible weight loss program and exercise regimen. Intent of medical intervention in this stage is to bring blood sugar normal level and stop progression from prediabetes to type-2 diabetes stage. Anyone having family history of diabetes, heart disease, is overweight and have sedentary lifestyle is advised to get tested for blood sugar as a preventive measure. Prediabetes in many people have no symptoms hence preventive health up is advised.
Heart failure is a condition when heart is not able to pump adequate blood. This condition is cured with approaches like – self-care, medication, device implantation and sometimes surgery. Dr.Sudheer Saxena is has expertise in implantation of devices for cardiac resynchronization and pacemaker to help heart pump blood and provide electrical impulses automatically. A patient centric approach is followed to customize treatment plan for heart failure patients.
Heart blockages for a common man is atherosclerosis in medical term. It is deposition of fat, calcium, tissue fibrosis, cholesterol on artery walls. When lipid rich plaque on artery walls ruptures, it causes heart attack – a medical emergency. Manifestation of atherosclerosis can be prevented with healthy lifestyle which includes eating healthy, exercise regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and managing stress.
Dr.Saxena is one of the pioneers in the field of coronary angioplasty and stent implantation for heart blockages. If Heart arteries are blocked at multiple locations, it is a multivessel disease (MVD) requires multivessel angioplasty. Similarly, if a patient has chest pain due to ruptured plaque it requires primary angioplasty. Blockages also get hardened with calcium and need rotablation or atherectomy with stent. All these situations are complex and only be treated by an experienced cardiologist.
These are conditions like aortic dissection, hematoma, and aortic ulcer. All of these rare condition have been effectively managed by Dr.Sudheer Saxena either with interventional or surgical intervention.
Valvular Heart Disease
Heart valves are essential heart chambers valves regulate flow of blood from different chambers of the heart, into aorta and body and to and from the lungs. Any leakage, blockage or damage to heart valves requires medical interventions. Recent development in heart valve intervention has made it possible to replace a valve without option heart surgery. Procedure named as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Dr.Saxena runs a successful TAVR program in his hospital and already helped many patient regain their heart health with the help of this novel technology.
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