Important Heart Failure Guidelines

According to heart failure guidelines, high mortality rate, reduced quality of life, complex therapeutic program, and frequent hospitalization characterize heart failure (HF).  Because the knowledge about HF is accumulating at a very rapid rate, most individual clinicians are hard-pressed to adequately and readily assimilate the new data into effective treatment plans for patients suffering from the disease.

Although trial data are valuable, they do not usually provide the necessary direction for the management of individual patients.  Because of these qualities, HF is considered as ideal for practice guidelines.  A full range of patient management, evaluation, and care of HF patients is addressed in the heart failure guidelines provided by the “Heart Failure Society of America”.

In general, heart failure is the inability of the heart to deliver enough supply of blood that the body needs.  HF causes various symptoms like leg swelling, exercise intolerance, and shortness of breath.  Echocardiography (ECG) and blood tests are used to diagnose this medical condition.  Treatment of the disorder involves life style modifications (particularly smoking cessation, reduced intake of fatty and salty foods, and light exercises), taking of various medications, and in some cases – even surgery.

Myocardial infarction, valvular heart disease, hypertension, and other similar types of ischemic heart diseases are among the common causes of HF.  Sometimes the HF is mistakenly used to refer to other heart-related disorders like cardiac arrest or myocardial infarction (heart attack).  Although they can subsequently result to heart failure, they are different conditions.

According to heart failure guidelines HF may be a common ailment, but it is definitely costly, debilitating, and a potentially fatal condition.  It is therefore not something to be taken for granted.  Based on studies, about 2% of adults in developed countries suffer from HF, but the figure dramatically rises to around 6 to 10% in people who are at least 65 years old. 

Heart failure is a globally-used term to describe the physiological condition where the cardiac output is deemed insufficient in addressing the requirements of the lungs and body.  It is also called congestive heart failure (CHF) because it can also occur when the low cardiac output causes the body to become congested with fluids.

The condition may also happen when the body’s needs for nutrients and oxygen increase and the demand exceeds the production of the heart.  This is known as high output cardiac failure and a condition that can result because of a severe case of anemia, beriberi, arteriovenous fistulae, arteriovenous malformations, Paget’s disease, and Gram negative septicaemia.

Although fluid overload occurs commonly in individuals with HF, it is not the same condition.  People undergoing treatment for heart failure will usually be euvolaemic or under a normal fluid status.  They will rarely be dehydrated.  Doctors often use the words acute and chronic to mean rapid onset and long duration, respectively.  A chronic heart failure is a long-term medical condition that is often characterized with stable management of symptoms.  Continuous, monitoring, medication, and treatment are necessary in order to properly control the disease and prevent it from getting worse.

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