Easily Worn Out? Difficulty Breathing? Beware of Heart Failure

19 August 2022

Do you become weary easily after only a few steps? Do you find it difficult to catch your breath every time you go up a few flights of stairs? Many individuals believe that these are normal due to poor physical performance and hence dismiss the likelihood that these are symptoms of heart failure.

What is Heart Failure?

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart has trouble pumping blood regularly. This results in inadequate blood to be transported to the entire body and the inability to provide the body with adequate oxygen and nutrients. As a result, the organs are unable to function effectively, and the patient is prone to weariness and experiences a drop in exercise tolerance, which causes the person to wheeze when walking. In this circumstance, the body is more likely to increase stress on the heart, maybe two to three times more than usual, in order to keep it running normally.

Symptoms of Heart Failure

Patients with heart failure are more likely to have symptoms such as wheezing, swelling, and weariness. According to Consultant Cardiologist Dr Patrick Tiau Wei Jyung, patients are less active than before, unable to execute the tasks they are capable of, and weary more readily than before. When walking a few steps or ascending stairs, patients in the later stages may have shortness of breath and difficulties breathing. Some elderly patients characterise this disease as "loss of vigour". 

Besides that, because the patient's blood circulation is considerably restricted and as the feet are placed farthest from the heart, along with gravity, for blood and water to return to the heart is difficult, resulting in edoema in the feet. Fluid may even build in the lungs in extreme instances. Even while lying down to sleep, patients may find it difficult to breathe, and they may need to raise their pillows or sit up straight to help their breathing.

New Hope for Drug Therapy

Dr Patrick stated that the public's comprehension and symptoms of heart failure are inadequate as many believe cancer has a greater fatality rate. In fact, people with severe heart failure have a greater fatality rate than many malignancies. Nonetheless, early identification and treatment can not only lessen the symptoms of heart failure, as well as the disease's incidence and risk of sudden death, but can also improve heart function and extend life.

Source: Sin Chew Daily