type of heart failure | Dr Raghu

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In our previous articles, we’ve discussed the symptoms of heart failure and the steps to diagnose the same. However, the course of treatment varies for every patient based on the type of heart failure they’ve developed.

Depending on the part of the heart’s pumping cycle that’s been affected, there are two types of heart failure. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at diastolic dysfunction and its symptoms.

What Causes Diastolic Dysfunction?

diastolic dysfunction

The diastolic phase refers to the part of the heart’s pumping cycle when the ventricles (lower chambers) relax and let blood flow in from the atria (upper chambers). Diastolic dysfunction is a condition in which the ventricles don’t relax enough. That, in turn, prevents the normal amount of blood from entering the heart.

Diastolic dysfunction is caused when the heart muscles become thicker and stiffer than usual. It’s more common in older women with hypertension and diabetes. If left untreated, it can lead to diastolic heart failure (also known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction).

Related : Understanding Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

What Does Preserved Ejection Fraction Mean?

Ejection fraction refers to the volume of blood pumped out from the heart’s left ventricle with each contraction. For a healthy heart, the number falls in the range of 55% to 65%. A lower ejection fraction is one of the most common indicators of heart failure.

However, it’s worth noting that many people with diastolic dysfunction have an ejection fraction of 50% or more (which is known as preserved ejection fraction). That means the left ventricle expels an adequate amount of oxygenated blood.

However, the heart muscle doesn’t relax enough to let a sufficient quantity of blood in. That, in turn, causes the excess blood to back up in the lungs and results in fluid buildup in the feet and abdomen.

How to differentiate systolic from diastolic dysfunction ?

diastolic dysfunction

In contrast to systolic dysfunction where the heart muscle is “weak”, in diastolic dysfunction the heart is “stiff”. This means that the heart is unable to pump blood out of the heart in systolic dysfunction whereas the heart is unable to accept further blood in diastolic dysfunction. Both conditions lead to congestion or fluid accumulation in various organs of the body. Differentiation of heart failure from systolic and diastolic dysfunction is not possible as both diseases present with similar symptoms. 

Which conditions lead to Diastolic dysfunction?

  • Diastolic dysfunction appears consequent to uncontrolled or long-standing diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity as well as elderly people
  • Women and atrial fibrillation

The best way to prevent and treat diastolic dysfunction is by effective control of the diseases mentioned above.

Symptoms of Diastolic Dysfunction

The most common symptom of diastolic dysfunction is congestion and shortness of breath due to the buildup of blood and fluid in the lungs. Breathing difficulties can get particularly worse during exertion or when lying.

Other symptoms of diastolic dysfunction include:

  • Coughing and wheezing (due to lung congestion)
  • Loss of appetite and nausea (due to fluid buildup around the liver and in the stomach)
  • Swollen feet, legs, and abdomen (due to fluid accumulation)

If you experience any of the given symptoms, it’s crucial to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Treatment of Diastolic Dysfunction

Treatment of diastolic dysfunction involves a combination of medications (diuretics or water pills) and lifestyle changes. In severe cases, a patient might need left ventricular assist devices or a heart transplant.

Is Diastolic Dysfunction Serious?

In the long run, diastolic dysfunction can lead to diastolic heart failure. That, in turn, increases your risk of hospitalization and death. Therefore, you should pay close attention to your symptoms and reach out to a doctor whenever you notice anything unusual.

Dr. C Raghu is a renowned cardiologist who specializes in interventional cardiology. He has decades of experience in treating patients with different heart conditions. If you or anyone you know has developed symptoms like shortness of breath, swollen feet, loss of appetite, etc., contact Dr. Raghu to explore your treatment options.

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    What Are the Symptoms of Diastolic Dysfunction ? – Blog

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      Heart failure is a common condition with no known cure. However, proper treatment can control the disease progression and thus improve a patient’s quality of life and longevity. To decide the proper course of treatment, a doctor must first determine the type of heart failure a patient has developed.

      Depending on the part of the heart’s pumping cycle that’s been affected, heart failure can be of two types – diastolic and systolic. You can learn more about the symptoms, causes, treatment of diastolic dysfunction and differentiation from systolic dysfunction in our previous article.

      In this blog, we’ll delve deeper into systolic heart failure and understand its causes and symptoms.

      Systolic Heart Failure: A Closer Look

      Systolic Heart Failure

      Systolic heart failure occurs due to a problem in the heart’s contraction (or systolic) phase. It’s characterized by stretching and weakening of the left ventricular muscle, due to which the heart pumps out less oxygenated blood to the body.

      It’s also known as heart failure with reduced ejection infraction. As the condition worsens, it can also weaken the right ventricle and take a toll on its pumping power too.

      Related: What Are the Symptoms of Diastolic Dysfunction?

      Causes of Systolic Heart Failure

      Systolic heart failure is caused by underlying medical conditions that damage the left ventricle. The most common causes include :

      • Hypertension (the left ventricle has to use increased pressure to pump blood through the body)
      • Coronary artery disease (buildup of cholesterol in the arteries) – with or without a heart attack.
      • Dilated cardiomyopathy (weakening of the left ventricle due to an infection or long-term exposure to alcohol and narcotics)
      • Abnormal heart rhythm (also known as atrial fibrillation)
      • Previous heart attack

      Additionally, people who are older or have diabetes are at a higher risk of developing systolic heart failure.

      Related: Understanding Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

      Symptoms of Systolic Heart Failure

      In systolic heart failure, an adequate amount of oxygen-rich blood doesn’t reach all organs. The most common indicator of the condition is a lower ejection fraction.

      It can result in the following symptoms:

      • Breathlessness – initially on exertion and in later stages even at rest or lying down. 
      • Swelling of feet, face, abdomen – due to fluid accumulation in various organs 
      • Engorged and pulsatile neck veins
      • Confusion (due to a lack of oxygen supply in the brain)
      • Weight gain (due to a buildup of excess fluid in the body)
      • Fatigue (due to reduced blood supply to the muscles)
      • Pale or bluish skin tone (due to restricted blood supply to the skin and other vital organs).

      Diagnosis and Treatment Options

      Typically, a doctor prescribes various tests, such as chest X-ray, ECG, and echocardiography, to diagnose systolic heart failure and its root cause. The treatment plan depends on the underlying cause.

      In most cases, systolic heart failure is treated using one or more of the following medications:

      • Beta-blockers
      • Diuretics or water pills
      • ACE inhibitors
      • Digoxin
      • Anticoagulants

      Additionally, doctors recommend a healthy diet and lifestyle changes to improve cardiac health and manage underlying conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes.

      Related: Diagnosing Congestive Heart Failure

      In Conclusion

      If left untreated, systolic heart failure can damage vital organs and even lead to death. It’s crucial that patients watch out for symptoms like swollen feet, mental confusion, and bluish skin color and seek medical treatment at the earliest.

      Dr. C Raghu is an experienced cardiologist who specializes in interventional cardiology and TAVR. If you or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms of systolic heart failure, connect with Dr. Raghu for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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        What Is Systolic Heart Failure ? – Blog

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          Heart failure can be categorized into different types depending on various factors. While most conditions cause similar symptoms, clear identification of the type of heart failure is crucial for doctors to determine the proper course of treatment.

          You can check out our previous blogs for a detailed glimpse of heart failure symptoms. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at different types of heart failure. Let’s get started.

          Diastolic vs. Systolic Heart Failure

          Systolic heart failure is a condition characterized by an ejection fraction lower than 50%. Also known as heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, it’s the result of a problem in the contraction phase of the heart’s pumping cycle.

          It happens when the left ventricle weakens and fails to contract properly and pump an adequate amount of oxygenated blood into the arteries. As the condition worsens, it can compromise the right ventricle, too.

          Diastolic heart failure represents a problem in the relaxed phase of the heart’s pumping cycle. It happens when the ventricles become stiff and thick and can’t relax enough. That means an adequate amount of blood doesn’t fill the heart, causing it to back up in the lungs. Also known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, the condition is more common in elderly women with hypertension or diabetes.

          Left-Sided vs. Right-Sided Heart Failure

          In left-sided heart failure, the left ventricle becomes weak and doesn’t expel enough blood into the arteries. It causes fluid buildup in the lungs and leads to shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Also, it results in a lack of adequate blood supply to the organs, resulting in confusion, fatigue, and pale skin color.

          The most common causes of left-sided heart failure include coronary artery disease, hypertension, heart valve damage, and dilated cardiomyopathy.

          Right-sided heart failure is characterized by a weak right ventricle, due to which an adequate amount of deoxygenated blood doesn’t reach the lungs. Instead, it flows back into the veins and results in swelling in the legs and abdomen. The most common cause of right-sided heart failure is left-sided heart failure.

          Compensated vs. Decompensated Heart Failure

          When a patient has heart failure, but their heart is functioning well enough not to cause any visible symptoms, the condition is known as compensated heart failure. As the condition progresses, it causes serious symptoms, such as breathlessness and fluid buildup, that require medical attention. This condition is known as decompensated heart failure.

          Decompensated heart failure is usually the result of a gradual deterioration of the heart pumping capacity due to pre-existing heart failure. However, if the onset of the condition is new and sudden, it is known as acute decompensated heart failure.

          End-Stage Heart Failure

          The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have defined four distinct stages of heart failure. End-stage heart failure refers to the final (most advanced stage), where a patient’s symptoms are severe enough to require hospitalization. Also, they might need specialized treatment to stay out of the hospital.

          In Conclusion

          Heart failure can be of various types, depending on its underlying causes and the severity of symptoms. Doctors use tests like ECG, echocardiogram, stress testing, etc., to identify the type of heart failure and determine the right course of treatment.

          If you or anyone you know has been experiencing symptoms of heart failure, feel free to reach out to Dr. C Raghu, one of India’s leading cardiologists.

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