Our heart has for chambers, two auricles and two ventricles. Th heart has valves that guard these openings. Blood enters the heart through vena cava into the right auricle, and then this blood is deoxygenated. This blood moves to the right ventricles. When the auricles contract, this blood is taken to the lungs for oxygenation. This oxygenated blood is received by left auricle and then when left auricles contact the blood, it moves to left ventricles. Once the ventricles contract, this oxygenated blood is carried to all parts of the body providing each cell with nutrition and oxygen and cleanses the waste material. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr Hisham Ahamed, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Adult Cardiology, Amrita Hospital, Kochi, about the symptoms, causes and treatment of a weak heart.
Weak heart symptoms
Weak heart leads to improper flow of blood in the body. If not treated, these symptoms can get worse and you might need to face harsh repercussions. For some people, there is a possibility that symptoms are not that frequent but it can have serious impacts.
1. Rapid heart beat
A person might experience fast paced heart beats and this usually happens when you are trying to exert your body. If you are facing rapid pounding of heart, there is a possibility that you might have some issue with your heart. This happens because heart tries to compensate by pumping quicker which further detoriates the situation.
2. Shortness of breath
Scientifically known as dyspnea, it is often accompanied by heavy feeling in the chest. If a patient is having a weak heart, a person might experience shortness of breath, and second breath. As the situation worsens, it can also lead to hypoxia and can cause irreversible damage to tissues.
3. Lack of energy
People who have a weak heart might also have lack of energy in their body. This happens because either the blood is not able to oxidise enough to provide enough oxygen to body parts and hence you feel more lethargic.
Bloating is a a very generic symptom and it can happen due to various other reasons too. Weak heart causes the fluids to collect in your abdominal area. This happens because weak heart is not able to pump blood the right way. The patient might also experienced swelling in body parts like legs, ankle and feet.
Weak Heart causes
We have learnt that how exactly does a heart function. It is a complicated organ, and malfunctioning of any of the auricle, ventricle, and valves can cause serious problems in the patients. Here we have discussed the probable reasons that may lead to a weak heart. Other reasons of weak heart could be consumption of alcohol and sometimes it happens due to pregnancy.
1. Thickening of heart muscle
This condition is clinically called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It majorly impacts the muscles of pumping chambers in the heart. As the muscle thickens, the heart has to put more pressure to pump blood to the body parts. It makes the heart less flexible. This disease makes the heart more stiff with time and can be fatal if it develops during early childhood.
2. Dilated left ventricle
As the name suggests, ventricles dilate hence they cannot pump blood to their full capacity. It can effect people of all ages but patients above 45 years of age are more prone to this disease. Men are more prone to heart diseases. A history of heart attack and other coronary artery disease are also at a higher risk.
3. Rigid heart muscles
This condition is also known as restrictive cardiomyopathy. In this disease, heart muscle become rigid and start to loose elasticity, hence it looses its capacity to store and pump blood. It is very rare but it can affect patient of any age. The main reason for rigidity of these muscles is unknown but it usually happens due to other underlying diseases in body.
4. Scaring of right ventricle
Scaring of tissues of right ventricle can cause arrythmia in the heart. This is very rare cause and such cases are not seen often. This scarring happens mostly due to some or the other genetic mutation.
Weak heart treatment
We have discussed how various types of cardiomyopathy weakens the heart. People who are already dealing with issues like diabetes, obesity or had a history of heart attacks are more prone to weak heart. One of the best things is to adopt precautionary measures like adopting a healthier life. You may eliminate the risks of developing these diseases in the first place.
Treatment of cardiomyopathy depends on the extent of damage in one's body. Certain medications are given to the patients to revive the functioning of heart, by reducing inflammation, preventing clots and maintaining the fluids in the body. In extreme cases where medicines are no longer helpful, the doctor might implant pacemakers and defibrillators surgically. Heart transplant is generally the last resort, because of the high risks.
Weak heart is a fatal disease and it can lower your life expectancy, hence you should stay careful if you experience any of these symptoms. Sticking to a healthy routine becomes even more important if someone in your blood relations is suffering from it. You can also consult a nutritionist to maintain a healthy diet along with the right exercises.
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Image source: Avera.org