Cardiology

Causes & Symptoms of Heart Failure

  • December 25, 2018
  • 1 minute read

Singaporeans have a higher prevalence of coronary artery disease, hypertension and diabetes as compared to other Asians, American and Europeans. Learn why these conditions are dangerous.

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a chronic condition where the heart muscle weakens and gradually becomes incapable of pumping blood efficiently throughout the body. This deprived oxygen and nutrients to the other body organs and tissue, as a result they cannot function properly.  There is no cure to heart failure, but a combination of lifestyle changes, medication and sometimes surgery can help in the management and treatment of this condition.

Common cause of heart failure

Coronary artery disease, hypertension and diabetes are the three most common factor that leads to heart failure. Heart attacks can also weaken the heart’s pumping ability, which leads to heart failure. Sometimes, heart failure can come on suddenly after a heart attack.

Symptoms of heart failure

  • Shortness of breath, especially when lying down
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Fatigue and dizziness
  • Swelling around the ankles, legs, or stomach, and weight gain from fluid retention
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain

Treatment methods

Lifestyle changes:
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce or eliminate consumption of alcohol
  • Exercise regularly
Medication:
  • Medication to lower blood pressure
  • Medication to correct arrhythmia
  • Diuretic pills may be prescribed to remove excess water and ease swelling
Surgery:
  • Installation of a peacemaker or defibrillator may be inserted to keep the heart pumping in rhythm or to steady the heartbeat
  • Those with advanced heart failure, a pump will be needed to keep the heart working
  • In severe case, a heart transplant may be considered
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