Heart failure is a serious condition wherein the heart cannot pump blood efficiently to the parts of the body. It can affect the other organs of the body and can give out symptoms which are related to how severe heart failure is. Usually heart failure affects the left side of the body first.
The function of the heart is to pump blood to other parts of the body so that oxygen and nutrient rich blood can be delivered to every cell in the body. When there is inadequate nourishment of cells, the body cannot function effectively. There may be fatigue and breathlessness when the heart is weak and cannot supply the cells with enough blood. Simple daily activities such as walking, carrying bags or climbing stairs cannot be done without extra effort and without breathlessness.
There is usually no exact cure for heart failure. However, if symptoms are controlled with medications, the patient can have a productive and meaningful life. Untreated heart failure, on the other hand, can lead to death. Heart failure can not only cause physical problems but also cognitive problems and memory problems.
Heart failure is different from heart attack and cardiac arrest. Heart attacks are due to death of the heart muscle due to occlusion or blockage of the coronary artery. Cardiac arrest is a medical condition wherein the heart stops beating and blood circulation stops. Heart failure can bring about signs and symptoms such as extreme fatigue or tiredness, breathlessness, cough, frothy sputum, swollen legs, enlarged liver, enlarged stomach, dizziness, nausea, constipation, and loss of appetite. Extreme tiredness or fatigue is due to not enough blood being pumped by the heart to the other parts of the body.
There are people who are at high risk for hypertension. These people may include those who have diabetes, obesity, smoking, hypertension or high blood pressure, increased waist size, heart attack, depression, inherited heart disease, congenital heart defects, anemia or deficiency of red blood cells, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, heart valve problems, myocarditis, abnormal heart rhythms, atrial fibrillation, emphysema, lupus, and amyloidosis.
Smoking and Heart Failure
A new study has shown that women who have early menopause occurring at the age of 40 to 45 years old may have a higher risk for heart failure. Current or past smoking may raise this risk more, according to a new study published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). This study done by researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden has found out that women who went to menopause naturally at an early age have a 40% higher risk of developing heart failure. Also the researchers have found out that for every one-year increase in age at menopause, the rate of heart failure was 2% lower.
This study is an eye opener for women who have early or late menopause to avoid heart failure by exercising, consuming a healthy diet, losing weight and quitting smoking. More research is to be done regarding whether early menopause and heart failure are indeed linked to each other and whether heart failure may also cause ovarian failure.
To know more about menopause and heart failure, you may read our other articles on this site.
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