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 Heart failure

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حسام المصري
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Male عدد الرسائل : 649
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تاريخ التسجيل : 2009-03-06

PostSubject: Heart failure   Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:42 am

Heart failure

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




What is it

The heart is a muscular pump that makes sure blood gets to each part of the body that needs it. As with any piece of machinery, as it gets older or if it's damaged in any way, it won't work efficiently

When this happens, people notice they haven't as much energy as before, that they get tired more easily and out of breath more quickly. They may also notice their ankles swelling and feel short of breath when they lie down

These symptoms tend to develop gradually and usually go unnoticed for a long time. The heart doesn't fail totally and stop; it struggles and is inefficient, and causes fluid to collect in the lungs and legs


Common causes

Angina
Heart attack
High blood pressure
Heart valve damage
Excessive alcohol
Inherited heart conditions, such as cardiomyopathy

What causes it

Anything that damages the heart can affect its ability to work properly. The most common cause is another heart problem such as angina or a previous heart attack. A third of cases are caused by high blood pressure, which causes the heart's muscular wall to thicken, making it less flexible and unable to pump blood properly

Other causes include damaged heart valves, too much alcohol and inherited heart conditions, such as a form of cardiomyopathy

Because the symptoms of heart failure are common to other medical problems, certain tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis. These may include a chest x-ray to show whether the heart is enlarged, an electrocardiogram to detect any abnormal heart function and, probably most importantly, an echocardiogram. This is a special type of ultrasound that shows how well the heart and its valves are working.

In addition, blood tests will be performed and blood pressure must be measured

What's the treatment

The ancient Greeks called heart failure dropsy and treated it with white wine. This may not have been such a bad idea, as studies have shown that for people over the age of 40, a small amount of alcohol each day may help keep the heart healthy

The goal with treatment is to control a person's symptoms poor energy, breathlessness and swollen ankles, prevent these problems getting worse and allow them to get on with their life

Helping yourself
Don't smoke
Take regular exercise
Drink alcohol in moderation
Eat a low-fat and low-calorie diet
Eat oily fish at least once a week
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables


It's also vital to treat any possible causes of heart failure, such as high blood pressure. There's little point in treating the symptoms if you don't treat the cause

Not smoking, taking regular exercise, drinking a sensible amount of alcohol and eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables are essential. Garlic and fish oils have also been found to help protect the heart from damage

Many medicines can help people with heart failure enjoy good and fulfilling lives. Symptoms can be improved using diuretics water tablets, while ACE inhibitors have been shown in studies to improve life expectancy

In the past, medicines called beta blockers were never used to treat heart failure because they were believed to be dangerous. However, research has found that some beta blockers are not only safe to use but beneficial
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