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Heart Failure: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment And How It Can Impact Your Sex Life

ByTeam BB

Apr 12, 2023


Dr Naveen Bhamri, Director & HOD (Interventional Cardiology), Max Super Speciality Hospital Shalimar Bagh, Delhi shares some important information on heart failure. Every year the burden of heart disease is increasing on our population and impacting the overall life of individuals and government spending. It is necessary to be aware of a regularly used term when we meet doctors i.e. Heart Failure.

What Heart Failure Means

Awareness itself is one of the treatments for this condition. Heart failure is a term used to describe a heart that cannot keep up with its workload. The body may not get the oxygen it needs. Your body depends on the heart’s pumping action to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the body’s cells. When the cells are nourished properly, the body can function normally. With heart failure, the weakened heart can`t supply the cells with enough blood. This results in fatigue and shortness of breath and some people have coughing. Everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or carrying groceries can become very difficult.

Heart Failure: Common Symptoms

Common symptoms and signs one should be aware of:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired (fatigue) and having leg weakness when you’re active
  • Swelling in your ankles, legs, and abdomen.
  • Weight gain
  • Need to urinate while resting at night
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats (palpitations)
  • A dry, hacking cough
  • A full (bloated) or hard stomach, loss of appetite, or upset stomach (nausea).

The diagnosis of heart failure typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. Some common tests used to diagnose heart failure are Echocardiogram, ECG or EKG, Chest X-ray, Blood Tests analyzing Troponin Levels, Cardiac MRI, and Angiography. Your doctor may order some or all of these tests, depending on your symptoms and medical history. The goal is to obtain an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Biomarkers To Identify Heart Failure

Yes, there are specific biomarkers that can help diagnose heart failure. Biomarkers are substances that can be measured in the blood, urine or other bodily fluids that can provide information about the state of a person’s health. Here are some of the most common biomarkers used to diagnose heart failure:

B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and N-terminal pro-BNP (NT-proBNP): These are hormones released by the heart in response to changes in pressure and volume. Elevated levels of BNP or NT-proBNP in the blood can indicate heart failure.

Troponin: This is a protein released into the blood when the heart muscle is damaged. Elevated levels of troponin may indicate heart failure or other cardiac conditions.

Galectin-3: This is a protein involved in inflammation and fibrosis. Elevated levels of galectin-3 in the blood may indicate an increased risk of heart failure.

ST2: This is a protein involved in inflammation and fibrosis. Elevated levels of ST2 in the blood may indicate an increased risk of heart failure.

These biomarkers can help diagnose heart failure, as well as monitor the progression of the disease and the response to treatment. However, it’s important to note that biomarkers are not always definitive and should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic tests and medical evaluations.

Link Between Covid-19 Ad Heart Failure

There is growing evidence that Covid-19 can lead to heart failure or cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle), particularly in people with pre-existing cardiovascular disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Covid-19 can cause direct damage to the heart muscle through inflammation and by affecting the blood supply to the heart. A meta-analysis involving more than 6,000 Covid-19 patients indicates an incidence of cardiac injury ranging from 15 per cent to 42 per cent depending on age and disease severity.

Several studies have shown that people with Covid-19 who have pre-existing heart conditions are at higher risk of severe illness and death. In addition, some people with Covid-19 develop myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that can lead to heart failure or cardiomyopathy. Furthermore, Covid-19 can also cause blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes and can worsen pre-existing heart conditions. In some cases, Covid-19 can also cause a severe and life-threatening condition called a cytokine storm, which can cause widespread inflammation and damage to multiple organs including the heart.

Heart Attack Vs Heart Failure: Therapies To Tackle Heart Failure

A heart attack is when blood flow is partially or completely cut off to a part of the heart. Heart failure is when the heart cannot effectively pump enough blood to the various parts of the body. Heart failure occurs gradually over time but a heart attack occurs suddenly and is an emergency.

There are several intervention therapies available for the treatment of heart failure. The specific therapy or combination of therapies that are recommended will depend on the individual`s underlying cause of heart failure, the severity of symptoms, and other factors. Here are some common intervention therapies for heart failure:

Medications: Several types of medications are commonly used to treat heart failure, including ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, diuretics, and aldosterone antagonists. These medications can help reduce symptoms, improve heart function, and prevent complications.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT): CRT involves the implantation of a special type of pacemaker that can synchronize the contractions of the heart`s ventricles. This can help improve the heart`s pumping ability and reduce symptoms.

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD): An ICD is a device that is implanted under the skin and can monitor the heart`s rhythm. If it detects a dangerous rhythm, it can deliver a shock to restore a normal rhythm.

Ventricular assist devices (VADs): VADs are mechanical pumps that can be implanted to help the heart pump blood. They are often used as a bridge to transplantation or as a long-term therapy for people who are not candidates for transplantation.

Heart transplant: In some cases, a heart transplant may be recommended for people with end-stage heart failure who are not responding to other treatments.

Lifestyle changes: In addition to medical and surgical therapies, lifestyle changes such as exercise, a healthy diet, and smoking cessation can also be beneficial for people with heart failure.

Heart Failure: Impact And Prognosis

Heart failure is a serious condition that can lead to a range of complications, including arrhythmias, heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, and liver damage. According to the American Heart Association, the most common cause of death in people with heart failure is sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. Sudden cardiac arrest can be caused by a range of factors, including arrhythmias and heart damage. It’s important for people with heart failure to work closely with their healthcare providers to manage their condition and reduce their risk of complications.

The prognosis for heart failure can vary widely depending on the underlying cause of the condition, the severity of symptoms, and other factors. However, with appropriate treatment and management, many people with heart failure can live long and healthy lives. According to the American Heart Association, about 50 per cent of people with heart failure survive for 5 years after their diagnosis. However, it’s important to note that survival rates can vary widely depending on individual factors. It’s important for people with heart failure to work closely with their healthcare providers to develop an appropriate treatment plan and to manage their condition carefully.

Heart Failure Vs Cancer: Which Is More Dangerous

Comparing heart failure and cancer is difficult, as both are serious conditions that can have significant impacts on a person’s health and quality of life. The prognosis for each condition can vary widely depending on a range of factors, including the underlying cause, the stage of the condition, and the individual`s overall health. In general, the prognosis for heart failure is somewhat better than for many types of cancer, particularly if the condition is diagnosed and managed early. However, it’s important to note that both conditions can be serious and that the best course of action is to work closely with healthcare providers to manage the condition carefully and to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

How Heart Failure Can Impact Your Sex Life

Heart failure can affect all aspects of your life, including having the energy, desire, or ability to participate in sexual intercourse. Here are some tips to help you and your loved one deal with the physical and emotional challenges of sexual relationships:

  • Talk openly with your partner.
  • Find different ways to show affection.
  • Have sex when you are rested and physically comfortable.
  • Have realistic performance expectations. You may need to modify your sexual practices to decrease the energy required.
  • Be caring, loving, and honest with each other.
  • Your medications may affect arousal and sexual performance. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.

 

(The Information is only suggestive for patient education and shall not be considered a substitute for a doctor’s advice or recommendations. Please consult your doctor for more information.)





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