Published on Sep 23, 2016 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018 - 2 min read
This article describes heart failure, a condition that is common. It explains why and how it happens and also how doctors manage it.
Every organ of our body needs energy to work. This energy is provided by the food we eat and the oxygen we inhale. Food and oxygen are carried to every organ through a medium that is called blood.
Heart is an organ that pumps blood to the whole of our body, including brain, lungs, intestines, kidneys, muscles, skin and itself. Blood carries nutrients and oxygen that are used by these organs to survive.
There are two sides of the heart, which work independently. Left side pumps blood to the whole body through channels called arteries. This blood after providing nutrients and oxygen to organs returns to the heart's right side through channels called veins. Right side pumps blood to the lungs to get oxygen, after taking oxygen blood returns to the heart's left side and the cycle repeats.
Due to any cause, if the heart's muscles become weak, then heart cannot pump blood to the whole body or lungs properly and the requirement of body and organs are not met. This condition is called heart failure.
Left Heart Failure:
If the left side of the heart fails, then blood cannot be pumped forward to the body. It pools up in the heart, exerts a backward pressure to the lungs and blood accumulates in the vessels of the lungs. This increases the pressure of lung vessels and fluid leaks from vessels and pools outside the vessels. This causes the symptoms of shortness of breath, cough and frothy secretions on coughing.
Right Heart Failure:
In the same way, if the right side of the heart fails, it cannot pump blood to the lungs and blood pools up in backward vessels in the limbs and other organs. When pressure increases, it causes fluid to leak out of vessels and thus it causes swelling of legs, swelling of internal organs such as liver, intestines, etc.
Heart failure can be fatal if not managed properly and intensively. Serious patients may need admission in a ward or sometimes ICU (intensive care unit) for mechanical ventilation.
For more details about heart and its functions, consult a cardiologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/cardiologist
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