Advanced heart failure is an amplified form of this deadly disease in which conventional heart therapies and symptom management strategies are no longer applicable. Since heart failure is a progressive disease and gets worse over time, it is important to understand the symptoms and their causes, to see a doctor as soon as possible, which prevents it from progressing.
Some of the more common symptoms of advanced heart failure include:
Dyspnea is one of the most common symptoms and leads to shortness of breath during any physical activity, while at rest or even while sleeping. Not only that, it suddenly appears and one has a hard time lying flat. As a result, they may need some form of upper body support when lying down and may even wake up anxious, tired, and restless.
Causes: The reason why this symptom occurs is that blood begins to flow back to the pulmonary veins, which are the vessels responsible for returning blood from the lungs to the heart. This happens when the heart is unable to keep up with the blood supply and causes fluid to leak into the lungs.
Persistent cough or wheezing Another symptom of advanced heart failure is that produces mucus tinged with white or pink blood.
Causes: This symptom occurs when fluid collects in the lungs.
Weariness and fatigue can make it very difficult to perform daily tasks effectively and cause the person to feel constantly exhausted without physical activity.
Causes: This symptom occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. In such a situation, the body diverts blood flow from less vital organs, including the muscles of the limbs, and sends it to other vital organs such as the heart and brain.
Edema refers to the accumulation of excess fluid in body tissues and can cause swelling of limbs such as the feet, ankles, legs or abdomen. It can also lead to obesity which further increases the risk of heart failure.
Causes: When the pumping of blood becomes slower than normal speed, it begins to return to the heart, causing fluid to build up in the tissues. As a result, the kidneys are unable to function well and remove less sodium and water, which is another reason for water retention in the tissues.
Nausea and lack of appetite is yet another symptom and can even make you nauseous.
Causes: This symptom occurs when the digestive system receives less blood than it needs, resulting in indigestion problem.
Increased heart rate or heart palpitations give the impression that their heart is beating faster than normal.
Causes: Since the heart is unable to pump blood properly, it begins to beat faster to meet the needs of the body.
Because heart failure is a progressive disease, it can get worse if not monitored and lead to advanced heart failure. In such a situation, the heart weakens and the treatment becomes more complex. Therefore, it is recommended to watch for these symptoms from the early stages to look for drugs and therapies that are not difficult for other organs. Ignoring these symptoms can even lead to fatal consequences in the future. Apart from that, it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle and diet.
-By Dr Rajneesh Malhotra, Senior Director – Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery Cardiac Sciences, Cardiac Surgery (CTVS), Max Hospital, Saket
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the physician are based on their independent professional judgment and we assume no responsibility for the accuracy of their views. It should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your treating physician for further details.