What are the symptoms of mild congestive heart failure? The patient may experience bouts of fluid retention and weight gain, shortness of breath on exertion, and decreased exercise tolerance. Some patients may have significant problems with swelling of their legs.
One study says that people with heart failure have a life span 10 years shorter than those who don't have heart failure. Another study showed that the survival rates of people with chronic heart failure were 80% to 90% for one year, but that dropped to 50% to 60% for year five and down to 30% for 10 years.
Researchers looked at more than 2,000 randomly selected people aged 45 or older and tested them for heart failure. The researchers found a type of heart failure called diastolic heart failure in about 1 in 4 people -- the people usually had no symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath or chest pain.
Although heart failure is a serious condition that progressively gets worse over time, certain cases can be reversed with treatment. Even when the heart muscle is impaired, there are a number of treatments that can relieve symptoms and stop or slow the gradual worsening of the condition.
Class 2 (mild) - you are comfortable at rest. However, ordinary physical activity such as walking causes some breathlessness, fatigue, or palpitations. Class 3 (moderate) - although comfortable at rest, slight physical activity such as dressing yourself causes breathlessness, fatigue, or palpitations.
Tests you may have to diagnose heart failure include: blood tests – to check whether there's anything in your blood that might indicate heart failure or another illness. an electrocardiogram (ECG) – this records the electrical activity of your heart to check for problems.
Heart failure (HF) with borderline ejection fraction was first defined in 2013 in the American College of Cardiology/ American Heart Association guidelines as the presence of the typical symptoms of HF and a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of 41% to 49%.
Ejection fraction is measured as a percentage of the total amount of blood in your heart that is pumped out with each heartbeat. A normal ejection fraction is 50 percent or higher. An ejection fraction below 40 percent means your heart isn't pumping enough blood and may be failing.
Symptoms can develop quickly (acute heart failure) or gradually over weeks or months (chronic heart failure).
Doctors usually treat heart failure with a combination of medications. Depending on your symptoms, you might take one or more medications, including: Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. These drugs relax blood vessels to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and decrease the strain on the heart.
Shortness of breath with activity or when lying down. Fatigue and weakness. Swelling in the legs, ankles and feet. Rapid or irregular heartbeat.
Breathlessness or Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea) When the heart begins to fail, blood backs up in the veins attempting to carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart. As fluid pools in the lungs, it interferes with normal breathing. In turn, you may experience breathlessness during exercise or other activities.
Congestive heart failure (also called heart failure) is a serious condition in which the heart doesn't pump blood as efficiently as it should.
Chronic heart failure is a long-term condition for which there's currently no cure. However, with medication, many people are able to maintain a reasonable quality of life.
Bradycardia can be a serious problem if the heart rate is very slow and the heart can't pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body. If this happens, you may feel dizzy, very tired or weak, and short of breath. Sometimes bradycardia doesn't cause symptoms or complications.
Limit foods high in trans fat, cholesterol, and sugar. Reduce total daily intake of calories to lose weight if necessary. Exercise regularly. A regular cardiovascular exercise program, prescribed by your doctor, will help improve your strength and make you feel better.
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is often abnormal in patients with heart failure, although up to 10% of patients may have a normal ECG. Natriuretic peptides are a useful biomarker for heart failure and a negative result can rule out the diagnosis. This can be helpful in determining who should be referred for echocardiogram.
Your health care provider may ask you to lower the amount of fluids you drink: When your heart failure is not very bad, you may not have to limit your fluids too much. As your heart failure gets worse, you may need to limit fluids to 6 to 9 cups (1.5 to 2 liters) a day.
Chronic kidney disease can look like heart failure. Both diseases cause fluids to backup, leading to swelling, or edema, in your lower extremities, meaning in your legs and feet. Fluid can build up in the lungs, as well, in both diseases, leading to (once again) shortness of breath.
In general, about half of all people diagnosed with congestive heart failure will survive 5 years. About 30% will survive for 10 years. In patients who receive a heart transplant, about 21% of patients are alive 20 years later.
Know the benefits of exercise for heart failure
Feeling better – exercise improves your body's efficiency over time, which helps to reduce heart failure symptoms. Less hospital visits – studies on exercise in heart failure patients show that a regular exercise program reduces hospitalizations and clinical events.
Heart Failure: Quick Facts
About half of people who develop heart failure die within 5 years of diagnosis. 3. Most people with end-stage heart failure have a life expectancy of less than 1 year.
Fatigue and Activity Changes
The easiest way to know that heart failure is getting worse is you're able to do less and less. People start pacing themselves. They stop doing hobbies that involve any physical activity. They used to go fishing, but not anymore.
Your chance of developing heart failure increases if: You're 65 years old or older. Aging can weaken and stiffen your heart muscle. Your family health history includes relatives who have or have had heart failure.