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Congestive Heart Failure: Prevention, Treatment, and More

 

-When should you see a doctor?

-How to prevent congestive heart failure (CHF)?

-What are the four stages of CHF?

Congestive Heart Failure: prevention, treatment, and more.

This post covers everything you need to know about this condition, from symptoms and causes of Congestive Heart Failure, diagnosis and treatment for Congestive Heart Failure, how to prevent CHF in the first place, how does it progress through four phases ranging from mild CHF all the way up to Stage 4 - which is actually terminal.

Congestive Heart Failure

Overview

Congestive heart failure (also called heart failure) is a serious medical condition which occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood around your body, usually because of an underlying problem with the heart muscle.

 

When should you see a doctor?

Many people who have CHF are able to manage their condition at home, with drugs and self-care. Have regular check-ups with your doctor. People who have CHF need regular medical advice, even if they don't think they're ill.

If you are feeling any symptoms of CHF or think you may have this condition or any other symptoms that may be causing concern, see your doctor immediately.

When to see a doctor?

-If you're feeling breathless with normal exertion, or breathless and tired when going about your usual daily activities.

-If you're tired all the time and it is not improving.

-If you have swelling of the ankles, feet, legs and/or abdomen.

-If you have fluid retention and/or fluid build up in your lungs (pulmonary edema), which can cause difficulty breathing and a cough.

-If you have palpitations – an irregular or racing heart beat, as well as fluttering sensations in the chest that may be felt at rest or when active.

-If you have lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting spells.

Congestive Heart Failure  dif

How to prevent Congestive Heart Failure?

There are two things that must be done to prevent CHF from developing:-Preventive measures  such as maintaining good heart health by eating a healthy diet, staying active, not smoking and keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check will go a long way to preventing heart failure.

-Knowledge:  the more you know about your condition, the better equipped you will be to deal with it. You also need to understand how it develops and what can be done if symptoms do occur.

There are four stages of Congestive Heart Failure.

Stage 1 is a mild stage of heart failure in which you might have little or no symptoms and may not even be aware that you have the condition. Symptoms may include tiredness, fatigue, weakness, muscle cramps and swelling of the feet.

Stage 2 is a moderate stage of heart failure in which symptoms are becoming more noticeable. You're likely to feel breathless when you exert yourself physically and might also experience episodes of irregular heart beat or an increased pulse rate when resting.

Stage 3 is considered severe heart failure and your body's ability to function properly will be severely affected. You might experience swelling in the abdomen and under the skin, as well as persistent coughing and breathlessness. Your legs may feel heavy and your heart may pound that can be accompanied by a fluttering sensation called palpitations.

Stage 4 is a very advanced stage of heart failure in which you'll likely be on treatment and have regular check-ups with your doctor. You may experience fluid build up in the lungs (pulmonary edema) which causes difficulty breathing, irregular pulse or abnormally slow heart rate (bradycardia), frequent infections such as pneumonia and generally a poor quality of life.

Stage 1 - Minimal symptoms

Symptoms: mild tiredness, weakness, muscle cramps, swelling of feet.

No treatment needed.

Stage 2 - Moderate symptoms

Symptoms: Tiredness, fatigue, weakness when physically exerting yourself, breathlessness when walking or climbing stairs. Palpitations (fluttering sensations), irregular heart beat, increased pulse rate at rest. Vague chest pain.

Palpitations: an irregular or racing heart beat, as well as fluttering sensations in the chest that may be felt at rest or when active.

Treatment: medication

Stage 3 - Severe symptoms

Symptoms: Swelling of abdomen and under the skin, persistent coughing, breathlessness. Heavy legs, pounding heartbeat that can be accompanied by a fluttering sensation called palpitations. Sudden fatigue and exhaustion. Swelling of the feet and ankles.

Treatment: Medication, rehabilitation programmes to help you cope with the symptoms.

Stage 4 - Very advanced symptoms

Symptoms: Congestive heart failure, fluid build up in lungs, irregular pulse or abnormally slow heart rate (bradycardia), frequent infections such as pneumonia and generally a poor quality of life.

Treatment: medication.

Advice from the American Heart Association:

Everyone can prevent CHF by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and by visiting your doctor regularly for check ups. It's important to know your body, recognize symptoms and get medical advice if you think you may have CHF.

Medications to help prevent Congestive Heart Failure:

- ACE inhibitors (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) : used in the prevention of heart attacks. ACE inhibitors work by relaxing the blood vessels which reduces the tendency of blood to clot as well as thinning the blood. ACE inhibitors can be taken in tablet form or through an injection. Side effects include: Nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness and headache.

- Beta Blockers : used to treat high blood pressure, heart rhythm abnormalities and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias), angina and cardiac arrest. Beta blockers are also prescribed in tablet form or through an injection. Side effects include: Drowsiness, headache, dizziness, weakness and fatigue.

- Calcium channel blockers: used to treat high blood pressure, heart rhythm abnormalities and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias), angina and cardiac arrest. Calcium channel blockers are also prescribed in tablet form or through an injection. Side effects include: Drowsiness, headache, dizziness, weakness and fatigue.

- Diuretics : used to treat fluid retention or edema. Diuretics work by causing your body to remove fluid from your body by excreting it through urination (diuresis). Diuretics can be taken in tablet form or through an injection. Side effects include: Thirst, fatigue, muscle cramps, feeling faint or lightheaded. You may also experience swelling of the feet and ankles.

- Aldosterone antagonist : used to treat fluid retention or edema. Aldosterone antagonists work by blocking the hormone aldosterone which encourages your kidneys to retain salt and water. Aldosterone antagonists are taken in tablet form. Side effects include: Headache, cough, upset stomach and diarrhea.

- Spironolactone : used to treat fluid retention or edema and reducing high blood pressure caused by heart failure or other conditions that affect the heart muscle or heart's ability to pump blood effectively.. Spironolactone works by blocking the action of aldosterone, which causes your kidneys to retain salt and water. Spironolactone is taken in tablet form. Side effects include: Dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

- ACE inhibitors and ARBs are safe for everyone including pregnant women with mild to moderate CHF who have been stabilized on these medications for at least one year. ARBs are also considered safe for children over the age of 6 months with heart failure due to cardiomyopathies or other structural heart defects or disorders. Before starting a new medication, it's important to talk to your doctor about the right type and dose of medication for you.

Human Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is naturally produced in our bodies but levels begin to decline after we are born. As we get older, our skin produces less vitamin D by converting sunlight into vitamin D3 which then accumulates in the liver. We can also consume vitamin D in a few different ways including:  - Fortified products such as some milk or margarine.  - Supplements such as vitamin supplements.  - Foods such as eggs and oily fish.

Human vitamin D3 is 100% natural and the highest potency you can get. If you really want to take care of your heart, one of the best things you can do is include healthy sources of dietary vitamin D in your diet such as eggs, fatty fish and fortified dairy products. These days too many people are deficient in vitamin D which is why more and more people are turning to supplements to supplement their intake.

-  Vitamin D levels should be around 30 ng/ml - 80 ng/ml. Anything less than 30 ng/ml (and especially below 20ng/ml) suggests a deficiency, whereas levels above 80ng/ml may indicate toxicity from excessive supplementation or sun exposure.

- Everyone under the age of 70 should take a supplement containing at least 5000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.

- Those over the age of 70 should take a supplement containing at least 10000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are produced by minerals that have become so concentrated in your urine that they crystallize . Kidney stones can develop from any type of mineral but struvite is the most common. Struvite stones can cause infections, blood poisoning and or death if left untreated.

Struvite stones are typically made up of calcium and magnesium which are found in many dairy products and oatmeal. The mineral oxalate is found in spinach and rhubarb, followed by magnesium which is found in apples and pears. Struvite stones can also form from uric acid which is found in many animal products such as meats, fish and egg whites.

Treatment: Medication to dissolve the stones or surgery to remove the stones if they are large enough.

Advice from the American Heart Association:

- If you have symptoms of or have been diagnosed with a kidney stone you should speak to your doctor about possible treatment options including medication options such as:  - Sodium Bicarbonate - used for indigestion (replaces stomach fluids).  - Proton Pump Inhibitors - used to treat GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

- If you are at risk of developing a kidney stone you should eat a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, low in salt and drink plenty of water and/or fluids.  - Those who have recurrent kidney stones may benefit from taking a medicine called Citrinin which is naturally found in citrus fruits, tomatoes and sugar beets. The medicine inhibits the formation of calcium oxalate stones by loosening up the joints between crystals and blocking the formation of uric acid in the urine.

- If you have already developed a kidney stone, it is best to try and pass the stone naturally. If you experience severe pain, nausea and vomiting you may need to go to the hospital for treatment.

 Please, dear , before taking any step, you must consult a doctor, to help you take the appropriate action.

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