Heart Failure

by Michael_Koger

In the United States, there are approximately 5.7 million people who suffer from heart failure. It occurs in children and adults, and there is no current cure for the illness.

This well-known illness is commonly the result of coronary heart disease or high blood pressure. There are also lifestyle observations which suggest that the situation originates from lack of exercise and dietary issues. For example, excessive body weight and intake of sodium products may aggravate it. Physical exercise is beneficial too as it enables the entire human body to remain in good condition. Moreover, psychological stress can worsen these scenarios. Medical textbooks have recommended for more than a century that physicians and the general public become knowledgeable about these matters (1, 2, 3, 4).

The process of heart failure entails enlargement of that organ with time. There is fluid in the lungs and swelling of the feet. They may have a bluish discoloration. In severe cases, the patient may present to an acute care facility with shortness of breath and abnormalities of blood pressure. The team of hospital staff must act quickly in order to reverse this life-threatening presentation. Critical care teams must be alert. When this happens, the best approach is to call emergency medical services promptly (1, 2, 3, 4).

Ejection Fraction of the Heart

     The literature indicates that the human heart is complex and weakens in some cases when stiff.  One well-known measurement of this organ’s function is the ejection fraction, and cardiologists indeed examine that especially when the cardiovascular system becomes inadequate.  Without question, this may lead to failure in these clients (1, 2, 3, 4).

     The are other important factors.  For example, congenital heart defects have led to impairment of function.  Moreover, it is not new that cardiomyopathy has been a topic of discussion.  It may co-exist in patients who have infection, substance use disorder, or chemotherapy.  Also, some individuals with congestive heart failure may also have hemochromatosis, amyloidosis, or human immunodeficiency virus.  Moreover, the virus which leads to COVID-19 can also pose a problem as well (1, 2, 3, 4).

     Many people also know that cigarette smoking poses a risk.  Tobacco can raise a person’s blood pressure.  There are also well-known concerns over diabetes mellitus and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications which are over the counter in the United States.  Other substances which may interact with cardiac patients include psychiatric history, anti-arrhythmic drugs for the treatment of heart disease, and certain anesthetic agents.  These scenarios require a primary care doctor as well as interaction with other specialists who manage these challenging cases (1, 2, 3, 4).

Current Medical Therapy

     Nevertheless, it is well-known that medication has come a long way.  For example, specialists remember the use of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors during the 1980s.  Another group is angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).  Beta-blockers are another group which has been effective for several decades.  Others include aldosterone blockers and angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitors (ARNIs).  For decades, physicians have prescribed hydrochlorothiazide—one of many diuretic agents which lower blood pressure and resolve edema of the feet.  Some of these drugs enhance smooth rhythms of the heart when the clinician uses them skillfully.  Finally, there has been much in the medical literature about implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD).  There is, in fact, much publicity, and politicians have used them.  Other methods include ventricular assist device and biventricular pacing or cardiac resynchronization therapy.  Finally, those clients may have no other method but transplantation (1, 2, 3, 4).

Conclusion

     Diagnosis and management have long been topics of medical conferences.  Over the decades there have been remarkable improvements in these areas as various approaches change and develop.  The future—along with most illnesses—changes after much research and debate.

References

  1. Mayo Clinic.  (2020).  Heart Failure. 
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine.  National Institutes of Health. (2020).  Heart Failure.
  3. American Heart Association.  (2020).  What is heart failure?
  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine.  (2020).  What is heart failure?
  5. Nicolas, D., Kerndt, C., and Reed, M.  (2020).  Sacubitril/Valsartan.  Stat Pearls Publishing LLC.
  6. Copyright 2020.  Michael Koger, Sr., M.D.  All rights reserved.

Disclaimer

     The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and one should not use it for diagnosis or treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact their physician for advice.

Updated: 09/15/2020, Michael_Koger
 
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