Heart failure is a progressive, debilitating, and life-threatening disease in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s oxygen and nutrient needs, due to the weakening or stiffening of the heart muscle over time. time. In India, heart failure affects nearly 8-10 million people, contributing to around 1.8 million hospitalizations each year.
The first signs of heart failure can be subtle or even mistaken for signs of old age, but should not be ignored. It is important to closely monitor symptoms such as:
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Constant fatigue and weakness
As the heart muscles weaken, the heart is unable to pump enough blood, resulting in a reduction in the amount of oxygen circulating in the body. It can tire you out all the time, which makes everyday activities like climbing stairs, walking, or shopping difficult. Constant fatigue and weakness should not be taken lightly.
Shortness of breath
Heart failure can cause fluid retention in the body, which can build up in the lungs. This can cause a feeling of shortness of breath when exercising or even performing daily activities. This shortness of breath can leave a person exhausted and anxious. However, this should not be confused with just a sign of respiratory disease.
Swelling of the ankles, legs and abdomen
Due to heart failure, blood may start to pool, especially in the legs and feet. This buildup of fluid can cause noticeable swelling in the ankles, legs, or abdomen.
Sudden weight gain
One can notice rapid weight gain, which could be attributed to water retention throughout the body. Sudden weight gain should not be overlooked or viewed as a random or routine weight fluctuation.
Fast or irregular heartbeat
Due to inefficiently pumping blood, the heart may speed up to compensate, resulting in a fast or irregular heartbeat. a floating sensation or palpitations. Getting tested regularly is especially imperative for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, as their current treatments may alleviate symptoms of heart failure.
These symptoms can vary from person to person, but identifying the early signs can lead to early diagnosis and effective disease management. With a combination of advanced treatment options and lifestyle and diet modifications, heart failure can be managed. It can depend on the stage of the heart failure, as well as the underlying causes, which can be targeted during treatment to relieve symptoms or disease. Treatment usually includes a combination of drugs, or even surgery or implantation of medical cardiac devices. By quickly detecting the warning signs and adhering to the prescribed treatment, you can control your condition and enjoy a better quality of life.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor promptly to avoid further health complications.
Dr Vishal Rastogi, Additional Director, Cardiac Sciences
Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi