Heart failure is one of the top killers in the world today. Thus it is a must that we know something about this dangerous medical condition, so as to prevent its spread among populations. Heart failure is a medical condition which is serious and life-threatening. It is caused by the inability of the heart to pump blood to circulate all around the body while maintaining the right pressure. Heart failure is usually caused by weakness of the heart muscle or its stiffening due to other medical conditions. When the heart is affected, it fails but it does not stop from working. The function of the heart may be enhanced with the use of medications.
Heart failure causes symptoms such as breathlessness, fatigue and ankle swelling. There are other medical conditions which can cause these symptoms. There are several types of heart failure: left ventricular dysfunction, preserved ejection fraction and valvular disease. Heart failure that is due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction causes failure in the part of the heart that pumps blood around the body due to weakness or other conditions. The other type of heart failure is due to preserved ejection fraction due to stiffness and difficulty in blood filling. The last type of heart failure is due to diseases that affect the heart valves. It is important to determine the type of heart failure so that treatment can be given immediately based on the cause.
After medical examination, the doctor may run various tests to confirm the diagnosis of heart failure. These tests include blood tests, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram or other tests.
There are numerous causes of heart failure. There are many medical problems that can cause the heart to fail, among which are high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, abnormalities in heart rhythm and valvular heart disease. High blood pressure can cause your heart to work hard against the high pressure of the blood vessels, causing its failure. Coronary artery disease is a condition wherein the heart's arteries are clogged up by fatty deposits or atherosclerosis. Cardiomyopathy, also known as heart muscle weakness, causes heart failure probably due to genetic factors, alcohol abuse, medication intake or infections. Valvular heart disease is a condition wherein there are damages to the heart valves.
Heart failure may be due to other causes such as anemia, hyperthyroidism, or high pressure in the lungs or pulmonary hypertension. There is no exact treatment for heart failure; however there are things that can slow down its progression including lifestyle changes, devices, surgery, and medicines that can improve heart function or prevent excess water buildup. If the cause is known, there may be possible cures for the condition. If there is damage to the heart valves, heart valve replacement may be necessary to treat heart failure.
If the treatment is effective for heart failure, there may be a lot of benefits such as a stronger heart, improvement of symptoms, reduction of the risk for flare-up, good quality of life and longevity. If you are at risk for heart failure, you should take steps to prevent it such as stopping smoking, avoiding high blood pressure, keeping cholesterol at normal levels, maintaining healthy weight, eating healthily, exercising regularly, and limiting your alcohol consumption.
Misplaced Proteins in Heart Failure
Several studies have shown that colchicine for gout can lower the risk for heart attacks. Conversely, taxol can raise the risk for heart failure. This is because these drugs act on microtubules, a network of fibers which are found inside heart cells that provide internal structural support. Previous research have found out that there is a link between heart failure and increased density of microtubules, however the exact cause for this is not clear. A new study published in the February 11 issue of the journal Circulation reveals that colchicine, which decreases the density of microtubules, protects normal heart muscle function and increases survival in mice with heart failure, while taxol, which increases microtubule density, accelerates heart muscle damage during heart failure. This study, done by researchers from the University Of Iowa Carver College Of Medicine found that increasing microtubule density causes a specialized protein called junctophilin-2 (JP2) to be brought to the wrong destination, thus causing heart failure.
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