Unfortunately, heart failure is a long-term condition that may get worse over time. It is treatable and with treatment and lifestyle changes thankfully many people can still have a good quality of life. It is important to remember that heart failure does not mean your heart has stopped working, it just needs some support to help it work better.
When diagnosed with heart failure it means that your heart is struggling to pump blood around your body properly. It usually occurs because the heart has become too weak or stiff, this can happen for many different reasons and is often the result of a number of problems affecting the heart at the same time. To help people understand the different things that may potentially lead to heart failure, Pumping Marvellous have put together a list of the most common causes.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure rarely has noticeable symptoms, but if it is left untreated it increases your risk of serious problems. If your blood pressure is too high, it will put extra strain on your blood vessels and heart along with other organs such as your brain, kidneys and eyes. Over time, this extra strain on your heart can lead to heart failure and high blood pressure is a common cause of heart failure in the elderly especially. So, if you do have high blood pressure, lowering it by even a small amount can help reduce your risk of heart failure.
Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects your heart’s ability to pump blood around the body. It is a disease of the heart muscle and is diagnosed when the walls of the heart chambers have become stretched, thickened or stiff. There are different types of cardiomyopathy disease but, unfortunately, the majority of them do have links to heart failure. Not everyone with cardiomyopathy will need treatment, however, some types are incredibly serious and have specific treatments so early diagnosis is very important with this disease.
Heart rhythm problems
This is also known as arrhythmias and it is more common than you may realise. Again, there are different types of arrhythmia that can affect all age groups. Common triggers for arrhythmia are everyday things such as viral illnesses, alcohol, tobacco, exercise, drinks containing caffeine but it can also be caused by certain over-the-counter and prescribed medicines, and illegal recreational drugs. It is not always possible to prevent an arrhythmia but a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of developing a heart condition.
Coronary heart disease
This condition is incredibly serious, coronary heart disease is diagnosed when your heart’s blood supply is blocked by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries. This process of the walls of your arteries being clogged with fatty deposits is known as atherosclerosis and the fatty deposits are called atheroma. Atherosclerosis can be caused by things such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Similarly to heart rhythm problems, lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of getting coronary heart disease.
You may have heard anaemia sometimes referred to as iron deficiency and that’s exactly what it is, it is caused by lack of iron. However, there are also other types of anaemia like vitamin B12 and folate anaemia. All types of anaemia can be treated and usually very easily but if left untreated it can affect your immune system and may even increase your risk of developing complications that affect the heart such as an abnormally fast heartbeat or heart failure.
An overactive thyroid is simply where the thyroid gland produces too much of the thyroid hormones. These hormones affect things such as your heart rate and body temperature and having too much of these hormones can potentially cause serious problems that will need treatment. Thankfully, an overactive thyroid is usually treatable but again, like the other causes we have mentioned, if left untreated it can lead to further problems including eye problems and heart problems.
About Pumping Marvellous
Raising awareness of the causes of heart failure is so important especially because the majority of these conditions can be treated before it is too late. If you are experiencing any of the problems mentioned above, and you think that you are experiencing heart failure symptoms, please seek professional medical assistance as soon as possible.
If you are concerned about heart failure, currently living with heart failure or supporting someone who is then you’re not alone. Pumping Marvellous is a UK heart failure patient-led charity. This incredibly charity is here to support you and any heart failure sufferers, their families and carers in the UK qualify for assistance. So, don’t be afraid to reach out and you will be welcomed with open arms.