First let’s understand how exactly heart failure happens? Heart failure is a condition that occurs when the heart cannot pump or fill with enough blood, which means heart must work harder to deliver the blood to the body. In fact, the term heart failure is misleading, because the heart doesn’t completely fail or stop,” according to a study report.
There have been studies that suggest that long-term air pollution is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular/heart disease.
The most common symptoms of heart failure are shortness of breath, swelling in the legs and feet, feeling tired quickly and a fast heart rate, weakness, giddiness.
The conditions which lead to heart failure, if treated in early stages can cause reversal of the condition. But unfortunately once fully established the problem progresses relentlessly and may lead to fatal outcomes. With medications and lifestyle modification which include proper diet & exercise, these patients can remain stable for long period of time.
These patients are prone to episodes of worsening of symptoms requiring hospitalizations. This worsening is most commonly caused by infections (chest infections), arrhythmia (atrial or ventricular), excess salt or water intake, certain medication & drug abuse (pain killers or alcohol) or worsening renal functions. The aim of long term treatment is to prevent these acute exacerbations, as each episodes can be potentially life threatening. As the weather becomes colder, we see a surge in hospitalization related to heart failure.
– Because of cold weather smog & pollutants settle on ground leading to chest infections & breathing problems.
– In winters the BP rises and coronary arteries shrinks leading to lack of blood supply.
– As sweating doesn’t occur, the extra water gets accumulated in lungs leading to failure symptoms.
– Due to weather change various respiratory infections are more common.
How to Prevent
– People with weak heart should be particularly careful during winter season. Though they should continue to exercise regularly, they should modify their timings, so as to avoid extreme weather.
– Salt & water intake should be reduced as there is no loss to sweating.
– Regularly monitor BP and if detected high, should be properly treated.
– Avoiding infections is another important aspect and before the onset of the season, influenza & pneumonia vaccines should be taken so as to prevent chest infections.
– If symptoms of infections are seen they should be promptly treated with proper use of antibiotics.
– Don’t skip your prescribed medication.
– Don’t skip medicine when you are feeling better
– Any side effects should be reported immediately to your treating doctor
How to detect that you are going to have problem
– One thing that can be easily done at home is, measuring your fluid intake and urine output. If your urine output is consistently less that means fluid is getting accumulated in lungs and sooner it will reflect as heart failure symptoms.
– A good surrogate method to measure fluid retention is to record your weight daily. And if you gain 2.0 kgs weight in three days this means that you are retaining fluid and you should consult your doctor.