The heart has to go through a lot and is in action around the clock. Unfortunately, functional weaknesses of the heart are among the most common diseases in Germany, with men having a slightly higher risk than women. The likelihood of illness increases with age. Right heart failure is a special case of cardiac insufficiency.
What is Right Heart Failure?
Right heart failure is a subtype of heart failure. Heart failure describes a malfunction or weakness of the heart. This is no longer able to fulfill its tasks correctly. It can no longer pump enough blood into the body to supply all organs with sufficient blood. For what is paod, please visit beautyphoon.com.
The circulation is also attacked and weakened. Right heart failure affects only the right half of the heart or the pumping capacity of the right ventricle. The right half of the heart has the task of transporting the oxygen-poor blood to the lungs so that it can be enriched with new oxygen there. However, if there is right heart failure, the blood backs up into the veins of the body. This increases the venous pressure, causing more water to accumulate in the tissue.
The most common cause of right heart failure is chronic left heart failure. Because this leads to a backlog of blood in the pulmonary vessels. The result is increased pressure in the lungs.
To compensate, the right side of the heart has to use more force to pump blood to the lungs. Due to the overload, the muscle layer in the right ventricle wall becomes thicker and thicker. In the further course, the right half of the heart also fails because the overload becomes too great.
Other causes of right heart failure are diseases of the lungs such as pulmonary hypertension, ie a pathological increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary circulation. A heart valve defect, which can manifest itself, for example, in a reduction in blood flow from the right ventricle, is also a possible cause.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
In right heart failure, blood builds up in front of the right heart. This backwater causes edema in the body, which occurs primarily in the lower legs and ankles. Initially, this edema can be observed mainly at night when the heart is relieved. Chronic right heart failure can also lead to nighttime urination (nocturia).
In some cases, fluid accumulates in the abdominal cavity (ascites), which can lead to breathing difficulties. Congestion in the neck veins can also be symptomatic of right heart failure, recognizable by volume overflow of the neck veins. The accumulation of blood can lead to the disruption of individual organ and bodily functions.
Here, the liver, the kidneys, the spleen or the gastrointestinal tract are affected, recognizable by constipation, loss of appetite, food intolerance. In most cases, right heart failure is preceded by a chronic respiratory disease or a pulmonary embolism, i.e. the blockage of one or more pulmonary arteries, which also causes symptoms such as breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, shortness of breath and blue discoloration of the skin.
Also symptomatic of chronic right heart failure are: fatigue and reduced performance. Acute right heart failure leads to circulatory shocks, shortness of breath, shortness of breath (dyspnea), increased heart rate (tachycardia) and cyanosis, a blue discoloration of the skin.
Diagnosis & History
An echocardiography and a chest X-ray are usually used to diagnose right heart failure. Echocardiography uses ultrasound to visualize the heart. By analyzing both X-rays and ultrasounds, a cardiologist can quickly identify right heart failure based on the enlargement of the right side of the heart.
The course of the disease in right heart failure is insidious, since the heart manages to compensate for malfunctions for a relatively long time and symptoms only become noticeable relatively late. The first noticeable symptoms are declining physical performance, for example in sports, as well as frequent tiredness and listlessness.
In the further course, it can then lead to increased shortness of breath. Legs and feet can also swell due to the development of edema. In the worst case, the heart can refuse to work at all and a heart attack can occur.
Right heart failure can have a variety of serious effects. If it develops into acute decompensated heart failure, there are even life-threatening consequences. The typical symptoms of right heart failure include edema (water retention), which primarily appears on the lower legs and on the back of the foot. They are usually accompanied by weight gain.
During the night hours, the accumulation of water in the body is broken down. Because of this, the patient has to interrupt his night’s sleep several times to go to the toilet, which in turn leads to sleep disturbances. If the blood also accumulates in organs such as the spleen and liver, these increase in size. Sometimes painful pressure develops on the abdomen and tissue fluid forms at this point, which doctors call ascites (abdominal dropsy).
Right-sided heart failure can also trigger various secondary diseases that aggravate the heart condition. Among other things, the respiratory system is affected by this, in which pulmonary edema forms or congestion bronchitis occurs, which is noticeable in permanent coughing.
Another possible effect of heart failure is the significant loss of weight that occurs in a chronic form. Those affected often suffer from underweight. Sudden cardiac death is the most serious complication of right heart failure. The risk increases with the severity of the heart failure. Other consequences are cardiac arrhythmia, thyroid disease, anemia, sleep apnea or pneumonia.
When should you go to the doctor?
Right heart failure must always be examined and treated by a doctor. In the worst case, it can lead to the death of the person concerned or greatly reduce the patient’s life expectancy. The further course depends on when the right heart failure is recognized and treated. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment are initiated, the higher the probability of a positive course of the disease. The doctor should be consulted if the person concerned suffers from frequent nighttime urination.
Restrictions and problems with breathing can also indicate right heart failure and should always be examined by a doctor. Patients often suffer from severe fatigue or various digestive problems. If these symptoms persist and do not go away on their own, a medical examination is definitely necessary. Right heart failure can be diagnosed by a cardiologist. In some cases, however, surgical intervention is necessary. The life expectancy of the affected person may also be limited by the right heart failure.
Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of right heart failure depends primarily on the severity of the disease. At the first signs of right heart failure, it may be enough to adapt your living conditions to the disease.
Smoking and drinking should then be restricted or stopped altogether, a normal body weight should be aimed for and stress avoided. More advanced stages of heart failure can be treated with medication. These are intended to prevent possible complications and combat the symptoms of the disease. Diuretics, for example, have a diuretic effect and thus relieve the heart and vessels in which water has accumulated.
Furthermore, ]]beta blockers]], which prevent cardiac arrhythmias, and ACE inhibitors, which dilate the blood vessels and thus relieve the heart, are often used. In more serious cases, however, the implantation of a cardiac pacemaker or an implantable defibrillator is necessary. These can react to or prevent serious cardiac arrhythmias.
If, despite all these methods, the heart failure keeps getting worse, in some cases only a heart transplant can help. Either a donor heart or an artificial heart is used in the patient. However, since such a transplantation involves extremely high risks, such as a rejection reaction on the part of the body, it is only considered in an absolute emergency.
The best way to prevent right heart failure is to lead a healthy and conscious lifestyle. Avoiding nicotine and drinking alcohol in moderation promote heart health, as does a balanced, low-salt diet. A lot of exercise in the fresh air, sport and avoiding too much stress in everyday life and at work can also prevent right heart failure.
Even though heart failure can be treated very well today thanks to improved medical options and the quality of life of those affected has increased significantly, it is still one of the most common types of death and should therefore not be underestimated. Since they develop gradually, older people in particular should have regular check-ups with a cardiologist.
In the case of right heart failure, symptomatic aftercare takes place in order to reduce the risk as much as possible. Drug treatment of the cause is appropriate. If this is due to hypertension, antihypertensive drugs are prescribed. Drugs are also used to increase the pumping power of the heart and diuretics to reduce the stress on the heart.
In the case of advanced right heart failure, it is necessary to insert a pacemaker with an integrated defibrillator or a biventricular pacemaker. These help to compensate for cardiac insufficiency and prevent cardiac arrhythmia. If the heart is severely damaged, a heart transplant or bypass may be necessary.
A healthy lifestyle should be followed after the illness. Light physical activity and a healthy diet are important here. Other approaches should include giving up nicotine and alcohol and avoiding being overweight. Excessive fluid intake should be avoided and the correct amount discussed with the doctor.
Check-ups at regular intervals by a specialist are important. These focus on checking the heart failure and adjusting medication if necessary. Vaccination against influenza and pneumococci should also be carried out as a precautionary measure. The prognosis for right heart failure depends on the phase of the insufficiency. It is important to stick to the prescribed therapy in order to avoid complications or deterioration. Heart failure leads to death in many cases.
You can do that yourself
The treatment of right heart failure depends on the severity of the disease. Especially in mild cases, the mostly older patients can do a lot to prevent a chronic course with the dreaded complications such as cardiac arrhythmia, pneumonia, sleep apnea or cardiac death.
Everything that puts an unnecessary strain on the heart is taboo: this includes nicotine and alcohol, but also obesity. If you are overweight, it is therefore advisable to lose weight. It makes sense here to change your diet slowly, because even a rigorous diet puts a strain on the heart. In addition, studies have shown that dietary changes, in contrast to crash diets, show long-term success. Since patients with right heart failure tend to retain water, their diet should be as low in salt as possible.
Even if those affected are no longer physically resilient, they can still exercise regularly in the fresh air. Walking, walking or even hiking and cycling are sensible sporting activities.
Affected patients should avoid stress, as it also damages the heart. There are several methods to reduce stress and come to a more optimistic view of the world. This can be done through psychotherapy, but also through gentle sports such as Reiki and yoga, through meditation and breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobson. Regular rest and sleeping times also promote relaxation.