What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure means the heart is not able to pump blood around the body as it should. The heart could have either become too weak or stiff to work properly, but it doesn’t mean the heart has stopped working altogether.
Heart failure can occur at any age but is mostly common in older people. It is a long-term condition that tends to get worse over long periods of time. Whilst it cannot be cured, symptoms can be controlled for many years.
Types of Heart Failure
- Systolic Heart Failure- the pump does not contract down properly
- Diastolic Heart Failure-the pump can contract, but does not relax properly
Heart failure can often be referred to in Four Grades – learn more about these grades in this article.
Symptoms of Heart Failure
The main symptoms of heart failure are:
- Breathlessness after activity or when resting
- Feeling tired most of the time
- Swollen ankles and legs
There are also a number of other symptoms that can occur:
- Persistent cough
- Fast heart rate
Causes of Heart Failure
There are a wide range of causes of heart failure including:
- Coronary heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Atrial fibrillation
- Damage to heart valves
- Congenital heart disease
There are several tests your Cardiologist can do to help check how well your heart is working:
Treatment of Heart Failure
Treatment for Heart Failure rests on Medical therapy:
- Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
- Aldosterone Antagonists-Spironolactone or Eprelonone
- Diuretics-they help symptoms but don’t change long term outcome
If there is a reversible cause, such as Coronary Artery Disease, that should be treated.