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General Practice 2023

Insuficiência cardíaca: what é, types, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Insuficiência cardíaca: what é, types, symptoms, causes and treatment
Insuficiência cardíaca: what é, types, symptoms, causes and treatment

Heart failure is characterized by the heart's difficulty in pumping blood to the body, generating symptoms such as tiredness, nighttime cough and swelling in the legs at the end of the day, since the oxygen present in the blood cannot reach the organs and tissues.

Heart failure is more common in people who have high blood pressure, as in these cases the heart needs to work harder to pump blood, causing the heart to dilate over time. In addition, insufficiency can happen due to narrowing of the arteries, making it difficult for blood to pass through and distribute throughout the body.

Heart failure has no cure, but it can be controlled with regular use of oral medication and careful diet, in addition to regular consultations with the cardiologist.


Types of heart failure

According to the evolution of symptoms, heart failure can be classified into:

  • Chronic heart failure, which is developed over the years due to high blood pressure, for example, being the most common type of heart failure;
  • Acute heart failure, which comes on suddenly due to a serious problem such as a heart attack, severe arrhythmia, or bleeding and should be treated immediately and in the hospital to avoid complications;
  • Decompensated heart failure, which arises in patients with chronic heart failure who do not undergo adequate treatment, requiring hospitalization;
  • Congestive heart failure, also called CHF, in which fluid builds up in the lungs, legs, and belly because the heart has difficulty pumping blood. Understand what it is and how to identify ICC.

It is important that heart failure is identified so that treatment can be started right away to prevent the problem from worsening and the emergence of complications that could endanger the person's life.

Main symptoms

The main symptom of heart failure is progressive tiredness that begins after exertion, such as climbing stairs or walking, but which over time can appear even at rest.

Other common signs and symptoms of heart failure may include:

  • Excessive coughing at night;
  • Chest pain or discomfort;
  • Feeling short of breath when exerting or at rest;
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles or feet at the end of the day;
  • Palpitations and chills;
  • Abdominal swelling;
  • Pale;
  • Difficulty sleeping with a low headboard.

When the person presents these symptoms, they should look for a cardiologist so that tests are carried out that can evaluate the heart and, thus, confirm or rule out the diagnosis, initiating the appropriate treatment. Check out the main tests that assess heart he alth.

How to confirm the diagnosis

To confirm the diagnosis of heart failure, in addition to evaluating the symptoms and clinical history, the doctor may also request several tests, such as blood tests, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, or an angiogram, for example.

What causes heart failure

Heart failure can happen as a result of any problem that interferes with the functioning of the heart and the transport of oxygen to the body. Most of the time, heart failure is due to coronary disease, which is characterized by the narrowing of blood vessels, with difficulty in the passage of blood and a decrease in the amount of oxygen that reaches the organs.

In addition, in the case of cardiomegaly, popularly known as large heart, it is also possible to have heart failure, because due to the enlargement of the organ, the blood starts to accumulate inside it, without adequate distribution of blood and oxygen to organs and tissues.

Alterations in the heartbeat or in the contraction and relaxation process of the heart can also lead to heart failure, especially in older people and/or people who have hypertension.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for heart failure should be guided by a cardiologist and typically includes the use of blood pressure lowering drugs such as Lisinopril or Captopril, heart drugs such as Digoxin or Amiodarone, or diuretic drugs such as Furosemide or Spironolactone. See a more complete list of the main drugs used to treat heart failure.

In addition, it is also recommended that the patient reduce the consumption of s alt and liquids and do regular physical exercise, under the guidance of the cardiologist, such as walking, doing water aerobics or riding a bicycle, for example.

In more severe cases, in which the patient does not undergo treatment properly or when the problem is identified too late, it may be necessary to undergo surgery to perform a heart transplant.

Check out in the following video how food helps the heart work, reducing the symptoms of heart failure:

Other care during treatment

To complete the treatment recommended by the cardiologist, it is important to adopt some precautions such as:

  • Avoid using s alt to season food, replacing it with herbs;
  • Elevate the head of the bed at least 15 cm;
  • Elevate legs at least 15 cm to sleep;
  • Do not smoke and reduce your intake of alcoholic beverages;
  • Control your fluid intake as instructed by your doctor.

Also, some home remedies for high blood pressure such as garlic water, olive leaf tea or hibiscus tea, for example, can also decrease pressure under the heart, helping to relieve symptoms. However, they should only be used with medical advice. Check out a list of teas that help lower blood pressure.

Signs of improvement or worsening

Signs of improvement in heart failure appear a few weeks after starting medical treatment and include improved tiredness, decreased difficulty breathing, ease in doing some activities that were previously difficult, as well as reduced swelling in the legs and other parts of the body.

Signs of worsening appear when treatment is not done properly and may include difficulty breathing, decreased amount of urine and increased body swelling.

Possible complications

Complications of heart failure usually arise when treatment is not done correctly and include kidney failure, dialysis, heart valve problems, liver damage, heart attack and even death.

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