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Heart failure is a serious condition that can result in organ damage and death (if left untreated). If you want more information about the different types and symptoms of heart failure, take a look at our previous blog posts.

In this article, we’ll explore the different causes of heart failure in greater detail. Let’s get started.

Heart Failure: A Closer Look

Heart failure refers to a condition where the heart is unable to pump blood throughout the body with maximum efficiency. It’s usually the result of progressive weakening, thickening, or stiffening of the heart muscles.

In the past, doctors used to refer to the condition as congestive cardiac failure because it leads to fluid buildup and congestion in the lungs. However, recent research shows that heart failure can cause several other symptoms.

Symptoms of Heart Failure

It’s possible for patients to develop heart failure without showing symptoms for months. That’s because they might attribute signs like confusion and fatigue to other factors, such as old age and stress.

However, if you’re at risk of developing heart failure, you should watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in the abdomen, feet, and legs
  • Shortness of breath that worsens due to physical exertion or when lying down
  • Weight gain due to fluid buildup
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale or bluish skin
Related : Understanding Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

Causes of Heart Failure

Heart failure can be the result of various underlying conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, cardiomyopathy, and coronary artery disease. Also, it can be caused by damage to the heart muscles due to a viral or bacterial infection or a previous heart attack.

Moreover, faulty heart valves can strain the cardiac muscles and lead to heart failure. Similarly, heart rhythm disturbances can create structural changes in the left ventricle and cause heart failure.

It’s worth noting that people with a family history of cardiac ailments are more prone to developing heart failure. Also, the risk is higher in seniors and people with an African-American ethnic background. Alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, and substance abuse also increase the risk.

Types of Heart Failure

Depending on the phase of the heart’s pumping cycle that’s affected by congestive cardiac failure, the condition can be of two types:

  • Systolic heart failure – Heart failure due to a problem in the contraction (systolic) phase of the pumping cycle; also known as heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.
  • Diastolic heart failure – Heart failure due to a problem in the relaxed (diastolic) phase of the pumping cycle; also known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

Heart failure can also be categorized as:

  • Left-sided heart failure (caused by a weak left ventricle)
  • Right-sided heart failure (caused by a weak right ventricle)
Related : Types of Heart Failure

Stages of Heart Failure

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) have identified four distinct stages of heart failure based on the degree of severity. The course of treatment for a patient depends on the stage of heart failure they’re at.

Diagnosing Heart Failure

Heart failure is diagnosed through a series of lab tests, including ECG, echocardiogram, coronary angiography, chest X-ray, brain natriuretic peptide test, etc. Doctors recommend the right combination of tests to identify the causes of heart failure and devise a suitable treatment plan.

Dr. C Raghu is an eminent cardiologist with more than two decades of experience. He specializes in interventional cardiology and has helped a plethora of patients with different heart conditions. If you’ve been diagnosed with heart failure, feel free to consult Dr. Raghu to explore your treatment options.

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    Causes of Heart Failure – Blog


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      In our previous blogs, we’ve discussed the common symptoms and treatment options for heart failure. However, the plan of treatment depends on the side of the heart that’s affected.

      Heart failure is usually of two types – left-sided and right-sided. While left-sided heart failure is the result of the weakening of the left ventricle, right-sided heart failure is caused due to a weak right ventricle.

      right sided heart failure

      In this article, we’ll take a closer look at right-sided heart failure to understand its causes and symptoms. Let’s get started.

      What Is Right-Sided Heart Failure?

      Right-sided heart failure is a condition characterized by the weakening of the heart’s right ventricle. That means the right ventricle can’t pump deoxygenated blood into the lungs with maximum efficiency. It results in a buildup of blood in the veins, thus causing swelling in the legs and abdomen.

      What Causes Right-Sided Heart Failure?

      The most likely cause of right-sided heart failure is a weak left ventricle. In other words, left-sided heart failure eventually leads to right-sided heart failure.

      When the left ventricle becomes weak, it can’t pump an adequate amount of oxygen-rich blood into the body. It causes blood to back up into the lungs. That, in turn, means the right ventricle has to work harder to pump oxygen-depleted blood into the lungs. It results in the gradual weakening of the muscles and leads to right-sided heart failure. Left-sided heart failure is usually caused by coronary artery disease, hypertension, or a previous heart attack.

      Additionally, any condition that taxes the right ventricle’s pumping power can lead to right-sided heart failure. These include:

      What Are the Symptoms of Right-Sided Heart Failure?

      One of the most common right-sided heart failure symptoms is swelling in the legs and abdomen due to fluid buildup. Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen can also cause nausea, bloating, and loss of appetite.

      Other symptoms of right-sided heart failure include:

      How Is Right-Sided Heart Failure Diagnosed?

      Firstly, a cardiologist will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. Also, they’ll perform a physical examination to check your blood pressure and heart rate. They might even use a stethoscope to identify abnormal heart sounds.

      They can also recommend routine blood tests, such as complete blood count, lipid panel, and electrolyte tests. Additionally, they can order a brain natriuretic peptide test.

      Besides blood tests, doctors also order the following lab tests to diagnose right-sided heart failure:

      Right-Sided Heart Failure vs. Congestive Heart Failure

      Congestive heart failure is an outdated term that was used to refer to fluid buildup in the lungs due to a weak left ventricle. However, a more inclusive term – heart failure – is used now. Right-sided heart failure is a specific type of heart failure caused by a weak right ventricle.

      Final Thoughts

      The most common right-sided heart failure symptoms include swelling in the legs and abdomen, breathlessness, and chest pain. Doctors use a variety of tests, including ECG, coronary angiography, and chest X-ray, to diagnose the condition and determine the right course of treatment.

      Dr. C Raghu is an eminent cardiologist specializing in interventional cardiology. He’s helped several patients with serious heart conditions. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of heart failure, reach out to Dr. Raghu today.

      Book Online Consultaion

        What Is the Most Common Cause of Right-Sided Heart Failure ? – Blog


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