‘Heart failure’ is a phrase that can induce fear into anyone. People usually think it is a death sentence but it is not. With proper care, you can survive with this condition and live a normal life.
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure can happen for two reasons. The muscles of the heart cannot function properly. Either the heart cannot pump sufficient blood to the different parts of the body, or the blood flow to the heart reduces and it cannot fill with enough blood. Heart failure is the outcome of ischemic heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or excessive alcohol consumption.
Most people are not aware that there are several stages of heart failure-
Stage A- It is the pre-heart failure stage. It means that you have a strong possibility of suffering a heart failure unless you live a healthy life. Your chances increase when you or other people that you are related to by blood, have high blood pressure, diabetes or cardiac ailments.
Management of this stage of heart failure comprises-
Treatment of hypertension or diabetes
Abstinence from alcohol and smoking
Stage B- It is the early stage of heart failure. Your heart is already beginning to show signs of distress.
You can manage stage B heart failure with-
All the measures adopted for stage A
Medication like enzyme inhibitor or receptor blocker
Surgery like coronary artery bypass or valve repairment
Stage C- In this stage, your blood flow is disrupted. You begin to display the symptoms of heart failure like breathlessness, exhaustion and swelling of the limbs. You may even suffer systolic heart failure.
To survive this stage you need to-
Follow all the measures adopted for stage A
Take the same medicines as for Stage B
Reduce the intake of salt and fluids
Take diuretics and digoxin pills
Surgery such as an implantable defibrillator
Stage D- This is the most advanced stage of heart failure. It takes a lot of care, medicines and surgery to live through this stage. Treatment means-
All the treatment options of stages A, B and C
A surgical intervention like a heart transplant, implanting a heart pump or ventricular assistance devices
Heart failure in all but the last stage can easily be survived with exercise, medicines, and surgery. The last stage is the most dangerous. However, people still have a shot at life but it requires a lot of care and attention.