Heart is the organ which protects all of your organs. Because any of organs in your body can’t live without blood. Your heart pumps adequate blood into these organs. The blood will carry oxygen and nutrients to them. But what will happen if your heart fails to pump enough blood into body? Then non of your organs may not be received enough blood for their action. We call this heart failure. There are many causes of heart failure. In this article we discuss main causes of heart failure which you must know.
Approximately 550,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed in the U.S each year. So it is a huge number. Same thing applies in other countries also. So it’s better to take some action and protect your self.
Types of heart failure
It is better to know something about heart failure before straight away move into our topic. There are 3 main types of heart failure. Left heart failure, right heart failure and congestive heart failure.
Left heart failure
Heart has four chambers. Two atria and two ventricles. Together with these we can divide your heart into 2 main parts. Left heart and right heart. Left heart is responsible for pumping of blood into all over the body. If it failed we call it left heart failure. In left heart failure you may develop shortness of breath while doing some work, difficulty in sleeping due to breathlessness.
Right heart failure
Right heart is responsible for pumping blood into lungs. Lungs will fill blood with adequate oxygen. If this fails due to any reason, we call it right heart failure. In right heart failure you may have ankle swelling and enlargement of liver.
Congestive heart failure
Sometimes both left and right heart failures occur together. It is called congestive heart failure. You may have both features of left and right heart failure.
Causes of heart failure
There are many causes of heart failure. In this section we will discuss the 3 main causes of heart failure.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common and correctable cause of heart failure. Many studies say that hypertension may contribute to the development of heart failure in as many as 50-60% of patients worldwide. So it’s a big number. But don’t forget, hypertension is a correctable risk factor. Therefore you can completely eliminate the risk by controlling hypertension.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is now very common among young population. We call it as young hypertension. So check your blood pressure today. Because hypertension may not have any symptoms in most of people. Others may have headache, blurred vision, fatigue or confusion, irregular heart beat and pounding in your chest. It has a strong family history. If any of your family member has hypertension it is better to check your blood pressure too.
For the control of hypertension you have to take anti hypertensive medication for a longer period as prescribed by the doctor. Try to reduce excessive salt in your diet. Because it also can cause elevation of blood pressure.
2. Heart attacks
If you had heart attacks, also known as coronary artery disease, there is a high chance of developing heart failure. Because in heart attacks there is poor blood supply to the heart muscles. If you had recurrent heart attacks your heart muscles progressively become non functioning. Finally this will lead to heart failure.
The main cause of heart attack is formation of a clot inside your blood vessels. This is also known as atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis cholesterol plaques may be deposited inside your blood vessels. It causes obstruction. And if it occurs in blood vessels which supplies to the heart it causes death of heart muscles.
How to prevent this risk? If you had heart attacks before you may be given some drugs like Aspirin and Clopidogrel to use a long duration. Continue these drugs as prescribed by your doctor without any interruption. And also you must eliminate all the correctable risk factors for atherosclerosis. Then you can prevent recurrent heart attacks which may lead to heart failure. Here are the correctable risk factors of atherosclerosis.
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscles. It makes harder your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. Because heart muscles cannot be function well. Studies say that around 30% of patients develop heart failure due to cardiomyopathy. It has 3 types:
- Dilated cardiomyopathy – commonest
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Restrictive cardiomyopathy
Sometimes cardiomyopathy is familial. If any of your family member had cardiomyopathy you also have the risk. So, seek medical attention as early as possible if you develop chest pain, shortness of breath or fainting.
Here are some causes of cardiomyopathy:
- High blood pressure
- Heart valve diseases
- Pregnancy complications
- Family history
Early diagnosis and treatment is essential for cardiomyopathy. You can reduce the chance of cardiomyopathy and other types of heart disease by living a heart-healthy lifestyle and making lifestyle choices such as:
- Avoiding the use of alcohol
- Controlling high blood pressure
- Controlling high cholesterol and diabetes
- Eating a healthy diet
- Having regular exercise
- Having enough sleep
- Good mental health – avoid stresses
Some other causes
Here are some other causes of heart failure:
- Valvular heart diseases
- Congenital heart diseases
- Alcohol and drugs
- Some infections eg: Chaga’s disease