Heart failure occurs when your heart is unable to pump enough blood around your body to meet all your bodily needs. Heart failure can cause many complications to all the body organs and parts. Areas such as the brain, lungs, kidneys, skin and nervous system can be affected. The veins in the arms and hands, legs and feet, abdomen and neck can also be affected, often becomes swollen. Heart failure can also cause shortness of breath, especially when you’re doing physical work.
Valvular Heart Disease
This condition is where the valves in your heart that control the free flow of blood are not working properly. The valves of the heart ensure that your blood freely flows in a forward direction and cannot leak backward. The way in which a healthy heart operates is the same for everyone.
The heart contains four chambers with the heart valves placed at the exit of each chamber. The blood flows through both your right and left atria into the ventricles through the mitral and tricuspid valves. When your ventricle chambers are full, the valves will shut, stopping the blood from returning to the atria when the ventricles contract. When the ventricles start to contract, the aortic and pulmonic valves are forced to open. The blood from the left ventricle goes into the aorta and then to the rest of the body after passing through the aortic valve. The blood from the right ventricle goes into the pulmonary artery through the pulmonic valve.
Once the ventricles are done contracting and begin to relax, both the valves are shut. This prevents any blood from flowing back. This process repeats itself throughout an entire lifetime. There are two main types of heart valve disease.
Valvular stenosis occurs when one or more valves are narrowed, stiffened, thickened or blocked. It can lead to the heart pump insufficiency, and there'll be a lack of blood on different body parts. All four of the heart valves can develop stenosis.
The other common type is valvular insufficiency. This happens when a heart valve does not seal or close properly, allowing some blood to be forced or leak back into the chamber. If this condition worsens, it forces the heart to work harder to supply the needed blood to the body.
Some forms of heart valve disease are congenital while some may only be detected later in infancy. Other forms can develop during a person’s lifetime. However, the cause is still unknown, but it’s definitely linked to inadequate diets and sedentary lifestyles. This form of the condition usually affects the pulmonic or aortic valves. Sometimes, they can have defective leaflets that are deformed, incorrect size or not attached properly.
Sometimes, people are born with bicuspid aortic valve disease; this is where there are only two leaflets instead of three. As a result, the valves are unable to open or close properly or tightly. Acquired valve disease occurs when valves that were normal at birth and in early life have changed or developed complications.
It can happen for a variety of reasons, mainly infections or diseases, including rheumatic fever (caused by an untreated bacterial infection such as strep throat). Often times, when this type of congenital disease is left untreated, it can quickly lead to inflammation of the heart valves. Another heart valve disease is known as endocarditis, this occurs when harmful bacteria enters the blood stream and then attacks the heart valves. It usually results in holes and growths developing as well as subsequent scarring. This bacterium is often able to enter the blood stream because of IV drug use, dental procedures, surgery, or severe infections.
Another common condition is called Mitral valve prolapse. This is a condition that is known to affect about 1.5% of the general population. This condition causes the leaflets of the mitral valve to move back into the left atrium when the heart contracts. As a result, the heart tissues will become stretchy, and leaking will most likely occur at the valves. Normally this condition does not become problematic and does not require treatment unless there are other complications.
Another thing that can affect the heart valves are some sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis. Besides that, high blood pressure and many types of drugs can also cause heart valves deformities.
Cardiogenic shock occurs whenever there’s sudden failure of pump action of the heart in supplying enough oxygen-rich blood to the organs of your body. Statistics show that about 50% of people who develop this condition will survive if immediate help is available.
This condition is usually caused by the damage to the heart muscle. It is most common with people who are having a severe heart attack. Only about 7 to 8% of people who experience a heart attack will have a cardiogenic shock. When people die from heart attacks, it is usually due to the cardiogenic shock, not the actual heart attack.
Because of this “shock”, the body has a dangerously low blood pressure. Another type of shock, hypovolemic shock is where the heart cannot pump enough blood because of blood loss usually from trauma.
Vasodilatory shock is when the blood vessels relax abruptly, causing blood pressure to become so low that there is not enough pressure to pump the blood to areas that need it. This can be caused by a bacterial infection in the bloodstream or a severe allergic reaction to certain substances. This can also occur when the nervous system is damaged.
When someone is suffering from this type of “shock” regardless of the cause, it means not enough oxygen is reaching their vital organs. They only a few minutes before the lack of oxygen starts to do damage that is usually not repairable. If it is not treated quickly, it is likely to cause permanent organ damage or death. If you know or think that a person is in shock, call an ambulance so they can get treatment quickly.
Pulmonary embolism is a blockage in the pulmonary arteries in your lungs. Usually, a pulmonary embolism is caused when blood clots from the legs and sometimes other areas of the body (deep vein thrombosis) travel to the lungs.
A pulmonary embolism can reduce or block the blood flow to the lungs, becoming a life-threatening condition. With prompt and expert treatment, the chances of this condition resulting in death are greatly reduced. One of the best ways to prevent a pulmonary embolism is to take adequate measures to prevent blood clots in your legs. If blood clots are formed, quickly eradicate them.
Arrhythmia is the term given to a condition where the rhythm of your heartbeat changes. This can happen when your heart rhythm is too slow, too fast or if it has an irregular rhythm. Sometimes an arrhythmia can cause your heart to just stop beating, which is called “sudden cardiac arrest” or SCA. If it is not treated immediately, it can cause a loss of consciousness and death of a person.
Broken Heart Syndrome
This condition is commonly triggered by emotional stress and heartaches from loss of loved ones, falling out of love, being rejected, frequent anxiety and so on. Thus, it is named as Broken heart syndrome. The most common signs of broken heart syndrome are chest pains and shortness of breath; sometimes it is accompanied by cardiogenic shock or arrhythmias.
The other symptoms of broken heart syndrome tend to differ from those of a heart attack:
• The symptoms occur abruptly after experiencing extreme physical or emotional stress
• The results of Electrocardiogram (ECG is a test to observe the heart’s electrical activities) are usually different from those who have had a heart attack. For instance, those who had a heart attack in the past will show a deep Q-wave in their ECG graph
• When tested there are no signs of coronary arteries being blocked
• There is usually, unusual movement and possible ballooning of the left ventricle or lower left chamber of the heart
• The recovery time is relatively quick, often within a few days or weeks as opposed to a heart attack which usually takes a month or more
Arteries often harden as a person ages, losing their suppleness and elasticity over time. Although smoking is thought to be one of the major contributors to this condition, the actual cause remains unknown. Chemically derived drugs are believed to be another contributor along with a poor diet or a diet that contains a large amount of preservatives, artificial flavors, and colorings.
An aneurysm occurs due to weakened blood vessel, causing it to swell and fill with blood. Often these are formed after a heart attack. They often occur around the base of your septum, or in the aorta. This can cause a constriction of the blood flow to the body, resulting in heart disease. Eventually, aneurysms will be lined with scar tissue, which usually stops them from rupturing.
Aneurysms in ventricular generally grow slowly. The common symptoms are tiredness, lack of energy, and stamina. Blood clots can form inside some ventricular aneurysms, which can lead to serious complications and even death. Death is common when the blood clots break away and spread throughout the blood
Some aneurysms are congenital while others are caused by a heart attack. The blood clots formed around them can block the blood vessels, resulting in restricted movement and tissue death in a limb, a stroke, ventricular aneurysm or arrhythmia.