Although the heart is the strongest muscle in the human body, the gradual weakening of the heart muscles reduces the functioning of the heart and the patient leads to a condition called heart failure. However, this does not mean that the heart has failed or stopped working, but rather that the heart is working at a lesser rate, resulting in an insufficient supply of oxygenated blood to the whole body. This condition is often confused with a heart attack which is the sudden stoppage of blood supply to the heart due to blockage of the arteries. Heart failure can be life threatening if not treated in time. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness about heart failure and address the issue of the high mortality rate of over twenty percent.
Advances in medical science over the past decade have brought many treatment options to help people live long and healthy lives. Unfortunately, knowledge of the disease and available treatment options is very low in India. Therefore, in a bid to raise awareness about heart failure, Times of India has launched an initiative – Beat Heart Failure in partnership with Novartis. In this endeavor, several round tables have been conducted with leading doctors from the best hospitals of India. Doctors from GKNM Hospital in Coimbatore also participated in this initiative and talked about the symptoms of heart failure, its management and treatment.
Dr Ragupathy Veluswamy (BSC, MBBS, DCH, AB, FAAP, CHCQM, MMM, CPE, FACPE) Hospital General Manager Congratulated! The Times of India for Pan-India awareness campaign Beat Heart Failure and said TOI strives to educate the public about the causes, prevention and management of heart failure by providing relevant information. GKNM Hospital is a pioneer in interventional cardiology with a highly equipped catheterization laboratory and an advanced echocardiography department.
The physicians who participated in the discussion are:
Dr. Rajpal K. Abhaichand: Department Chairman – Interventional Cardiologist, Director of Cardiovascular Research and Innovation
Dr. R. Shanmuga Sundaram: Chief Consultant – Heart failure clinic and echocardiography
Dr. Abhaichand compared the heart to a water pump. He said that the condition of heart failure begins when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the circulatory system of the human body, and the weakness of the heart leads to the filling of deoxygenated blood in the lungs, causing congestion.
The most common cause of heart failure is heart attack, which often leads to compromised functioning of the heart, affecting the blood supply to the organs of the human body.
Dr. Sundaram also added and explained that there is a negative impact on the pumping ability of the heart muscles during a heart attack as this heart attack becomes the major reason for heart failure. Nowadays, these heart attack incidences are increasing at a higher rate in the younger age group, and our young people are more exposed to risk factors like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smoking, sleep apnea cause the current high-tension work and societal environment. People’s inability to control pre-existing comorbidity often makes them victims of heart attack and therefore heart failure.
Signs and symptoms of heart failure begin to appear with the heart muscles gradually weakening and the heart’s pumping of blood being reduced, Dr. Sundaram explained. The obvious symptom to appear in heart failure is difficulty in breathing. The patient will be short of breath during simple activities like walking or climbing stairs. As the disease progresses, patients experience increased shortness of breath in routine activities and reduced exercise tolerance. The accumulation of fluid in the organs is also observed due to the filling of blood in the lungs, abdomen or legs.
Dr. Abhaichand pointed out that people seek medical attention when faced with significant difficulties such as inability to sleep, getting up at night, failing or complaining of increased problems in performing their tasks. routine. The sudden change in their functioning abilities makes them reach out to us. At this stage, the functioning of the heart is seriously impaired in many cases.
He imagined our success will be when we can identify or alert people before symptoms hit them. Community heart failure awareness programs or similar plans are needed to educate people to understand the slight changes and to watch for symptoms.
Dr Sundaram said the preventive health check should start by targeting risk factors. Routine blood tests, including blood pressure, blood sugar, and a routine ECG, should be done. The results of investigations of these tests can serve as the basis for further evaluation of additional parameters based on the advice of health care providers to assess the extent of damage, when abnormal variations are observed. Targeting risk factors and managing symptoms are key to halting disease progression, if detected in time.
Based on symptoms, patients are classified as pre-heart failure or heart failure cases. Accordingly, treatment is planned and administered. Patients and their caregivers should fully understand the importance of adherence to treatment and medication. Often it is observed that people stop their medications if they do not experience any symptoms. It is important to remember that stopping medication is self-inflicted harm that could become unmanageable.
Dr. Abhaichand tackled the delicate matter of reassuring anxious patients and their family members with a correct prognosis. In addition to prescribing medication, the doctor must reassure them that heart failure is not a death sentence. But at the same time, it is essential to share realistic expectations with patients that they will be close to normal after treatment. Patients can return to normal work, take long walks, and enjoy a quality of life experienced by people with normal hearts.
The most common causes of rehospitalization are non-compliance with the medication schedule, neglect of risk factors and the emergence of certain unrelated diseases. Additionally, the water intake and urine output chart should be maintained to monitor water retention in the body and help maintain body weight. Water accumulation and other uncontrolled risk factors like high blood pressure place an avoidable burden on the heart.
Heart failure is a slowly progressive disease and regardless of progress and visible improvement in the patient’s condition, the patient should continue to follow the treatment protocol and stay in contact with their doctor. Regular contact with the doctor has a dual purpose. It helps to monitor influence based on prognosis. Moreover, regular visits to the doctor could provide you with new, better and advanced medicines.
When conventional management does not offer a cure, cardiac resynchronization therapy is recommended based on patient evaluation and evaluation. It’s a kind of pacemaker but works differently. Heart failure devices help the heart to beat synchronously.
In advanced heart failure, a left ventricular assist device is recommended. It may work as destination therapy in patients awaiting heart transplantation.
While patients find a new life with a heart transplant with a longevity of five years in 70% of cases. Sticking to medications and getting timely follow-up are crucial. The biggest challenge is the lack of availability of organs.
It is important to understand that treatment options are available for each stage of heart failure and that a near normal life is possible if detected early. The patient is expected to lead a healthy lifestyle, manage fluid intake, and stop any actions that may affect the heart.
Remember that heart failure is not about stopping. It’s about starting life in a new way. It can be managed with regular treatment and appropriate lifestyle modifications. To learn more about managing heart failure, visit https://www.toibeatheartfailure.com/patientguide.php
“The views and opinions expressed in the article by the panelists/experts are based on their independent professional judgment and are being disseminated in the public interest. These views should not be considered a substitute for the professional advice of a licensed physician. The purpose of this article is not to promote any medical procedures or medications and/or to recommend a certain physician. For any specific medical condition, please consult your licensed physician. BCCL, its affiliates and publications of his group assume no responsibility for the accuracy or consequences of adhering to their expert opinions.