Wondering About Heart Failure Risks? Uncover Its Impact for a Healthier Tomorrow
Heart failure is characterized by the inability of the heart to pump blood in the body. It is of two types i.e. Systolic & Diastolic. A serious health condition can cause long-term risks and a number of other complications including death.
As the heart provides insufficient blood to the organs, the body’s functions get disrupted causing dysfunction of the kidneys along with anemia and other complications with electrolyte regulation. Along with this, heart failure can also result in other problems such as breathlessness, weakness or fatigue, obesity, swelling in the abdomen and limbs, and inability to exercise. Some people can feel dizzy either from medications or post-heart failure. Therefore, a combination of medications is used to minimize the risk of complications caused due to heart failure.
Does Heart Failure Lead to Death?
Heart failure is a complicated condition that can cause multiple risks to other organs and even death. Studies show that one out of every eight deaths worldwide is caused due to heart failure. The leading cause of death from heart failure is cardiac arrhythmia which is due to an irregular heartbeat. Another cause of death from heart failure is the weakening of the heart muscles which eventually leads to inadequate blood supply to various parts of the body. This inadequacy of blood can lead to kidney or liver dysfunctions as well.
However, these risks can be minimized if diagnosed early, provided the patient gets suitable aid and treatment. Installation of an Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD), a mechanical assistance device called a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD), and performing a heart transplantation are some of the major procedures opted to minimize the risk of death during heart failure.
Life Expectancy After Heart Failure
The life expectancy of a person after the diagnosis of heart failure is about fifty percent. However, with the advancement of technology and the development of better medication, this has improved over time. Some of the factors which rule out the chances of survival with heart failure include:
- Type and severity of heart failure
- Organ dysfunction
- Causes of heart failure
- The presence of anemia and other markers in the blood
By keeping a check on all these factors and taking proper medication, the life expectancy of the individual can be improved.
Dietary Habits After Heart Failure
Intake of specific food items and refraining from consuming certain foods help in minimizing the risk for people diagnosed with heart failure.
- High-sodium foods, especially processed food, restaurant food, processed meat, frozen or canned food, salted nuts, etc. should be avoided as excessive sodium can put extra stress on the heart. Depending on the stage and class of heart failure, kidney function, and blood pressure, the doctor might set a certain sodium intake target for you.
- If you are diagnosed with kidney dysfunction also, the doctors may suggest a low potassium diet, thus, limiting the intake of foods like bananas, mushrooms, and spinach.
- If the patient is on warfarin, limiting the consumption of vitamin K-rich food such as Kale and Swiss chard is recommended.
- If diabetes or CAD is the cause behind heart failure then the doctor might recommend limiting the intake of fats, cholesterol & sugar.
Complications that Might Develop Post-Heart Failure
Heart failure is a serious condition that can get worse over time if left untreated. Various factors can lead to the progression of Heart Failure over time. These include:
- The presence of underlying risk factors such as blockage in arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea.
- Releasing stress chemicals because of a weak heart which eventually weakens the heart over time.
- High sodium intake puts extra pressure on the heart.
Therefore, it is important to treat the underlying risk factors, control sodium intake, exercise regularly, and take your cocktail of heart failure medication regularly, to prevent further progression of heart failure.
Effects of Heart Failure on the Body
Depending on the type of heart failure, the effect it produces on the body may differ.
In the case of Systolic Heart Failure, the heart muscles face problems in contracting or squeezing thus, the blood is not pumped efficiently and back up into the lungs and legs. Along with this, the weakening of heart muscles triggers certain chemicals and hormones that cause sodium and water retention, fluid overload, and further weakening of the heart. These complications can be treated by stopping the release of chemicals and hormones and helping the heart to hold onto fluid and get stronger over time.
In the case of Diastolic Heart Failure, the heart muscles become stiff causing problems in the relaxation of the muscles. This makes the heart stiff and leads to a backup of fluid in the lungs and legs and may lead to various complications like shortness of breath, swelling in the legs, fluid accumulation in lungs, and decreased exercise tolerance.
Water Consumption After Heart Failure
As heart failure leads to fluid retention, it is usually recommended by doctors to limit the fluid intake of the person suffering from the condition. It is also suggested that one should not drink more than 2 to 2.5 liters of fluids including water, per day, though too little fluid can also cause complications in the kidneys as well as dehydration. Therefore, one should set an optimal fluid intake goal depending on the following factors:
- Type of heart failure you are suffering from any medication you are on
- Kidney functioning
- Amount of sodium intake
- Prior history of fluid retention
All the steps as suggested above, provide sufficient knowledge about the potential risks that one might suffer from after a heart failure and the precautionary steps that one should take to contain those risks so as to lead a healthy and long life.
For comprehensive medical advice tailored to individual needs, seek the guidance of the top doctors at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre in Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad.
Their renowned team of experienced doctors and top cardiologists offer expert assessment and personalized risk management plans.
Meet Our Expert Doctors
Dr. Yatin Arora serves as a Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery Consultant at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre in Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad. An alumnus of AIIMS with an M.Ch., Dr. Arora brings experience as a senior resident, published author, and proficiency in providing surgical assistance for complex procedures in both children as well as adults.
Dr. Ankur Agrawal is a skilled Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgeon at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre in Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad. He excels in adult and pediatric cardiac, thoracic, and vascular surgeries.