Causes and rate of occurence of heart failure

Causes and rate of occurence of heart failureHeart failure is a long term condition that can develop sometimes suddenly.

There are two sides of the heart; the right side and the left side. Heart failure may affect only the right side or only the left side of the heart and these conditions are called as the right sided heart failure or the left sided heart failure. However, more commonly the condition affects both sides of the heart.

There are two types of heart failure:

1. Systolic heart failure:

In this case, heart muscles are not able to pump the blood out of the heart properly.

2. Diastolic heart failure:

In this case, heart muscles become somewhat rigid and are not able to fill up with blood easily.

Both of these conditions result in insufficient oxygen rich blood supply to the rest of the body as a result lacking occurs in the other organs of the body. This lacking is of oxygen and nutrient as blood takes both of them to the other parts of the body.

It is thought that the most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease (CAD) i.e. the narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to the heart. When heart muscle is disordered then this condition is known as Cardiomyopathy and this condition can also lead to heart failure.

Heart failure can also be caused by the following heart problems:

1. Heart attack

2. Congential heart disease

3. Arrhythmias

4. Heart Valve disease especially aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation

5. Decreased left ventricular function

6. Hypertension

7. Non-ischemic cardiomyopathies

Heart failure can also be caused by some other problems such as:

1. Severe anemia

2. Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism

3. Emphysema

4. Diabetes mellitus

5. Dietary sodium excess

6. Excess fluid intake

7. Hypoxia

8. Hot, humid environment

9. Fever or infection

10. Alcohol

11. Inadequate treatment

It has also been found that life prolonging defibrillator therapy may result in an increased risk of heart failure events. Defibrillator therapy refers to the placement of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) in patients of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia, who are at increased risk of sudden death as a result of cardiac disorder. ICD is a small battery powered device, which is used to generate electrical impulse for correcting cardiac arrhythmia.

Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, paracetamol etc. can worsen the condition of heart failure and therefore should be stopped in heart failure.

Calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine, verapamil etc. must be avoided in case of systolic heart failure.

References and Further Reading:

Aronow, W. S. et. al. (2006). Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Prognosis, and Treatment of Systolic and Diastolic Heart Failure. Cardiology in Review, 14(3), 108-124.

Moss, A. J. et. al. (2009). Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy for the prevention of Heart Failure Events. The New England Journal of Medicine, 361(14), 1329-1338.

Slaughter, M. S. et. al. (2009). Advanced Heart Failure treated with Continuous-Flow Left Ventricular Assist Device. The New England Journal of Medicine. accessed June 27, 2011.

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