A working heart is one that can move blood through the entire body. The body is meant to have a regular supply of blood, rich with oxygen and food, for the system to work well. Without pumping of blood, there is a big problem for the person. This is why it is common to see persons checking the pulse on the wrist or the heartbeat to see if a person is dead or merely unconscious. When the heart stops pumping blood, then the person can be said to be dead. While in a coma, a person may be unconscious, but his or heart is still beating by itself or through the aid of a machine. One doesn’t know the importance of the heart until the muscles in the heart start weakening. One thing you should know is that there are a lot of things that can lead to heart muscles weakening. It could be your diet and your lifestyle in general.

What is heart failure? Some may ask. We always hear that some persons may have kicked the bucket when their hearts gave way. What does it mean when someone is said to have suffered from heart failure? It is quite simple.

The muscles in the heart walls are what help to make the heart work. They are what ensures that blood is pumped around the body, and the heart is always beating. When it is noticed that the muscles have become weak because of one reason or the other, there is a great chance that heart failure or heart attack may occur.

The weakening process is usually gradual as a person ages, but what we consume and our lifestyle can increase the weakening. Even genetic composition can do that too. Once your heart can’t do its job of pumping blood to every part of the body, then there is a big problem. This is where heart failure occurs.

Have you noticed that heart failure has become rampant in society, as it is common to see a lot of persons above sixty years in the clinic because of heart failure? Some are lucky and maybe resuscitated, but for others, then there is a big problem.

The heart failure, sometimes, can occur on the left part of the heart, or the right side of the heart. The former is left-sided heart failure and the latter is right sided heart failure. One may wonder what the difference between both are since they all lead to heart failure. Take a ride with us as we discuss what they are about.

Right-side vs. Left-side Heart Failure

How do you know a heart that’s healthy? A healthy heart is one that is pumping blood that is rich in oxygen around the body. It usually has the blood oxygenated in the lungs, before being pumped to the other parts of the body. It also removes the wastes that are produced by different parts of the body and takes them to be the right places. The heart is usually divided into the left chamber or left ventricle, and the right chamber or right ventricle. The left chamber is what creates a lot of the pumping power of the heart.

When you are suffering from left-sided heart failure, this means that the heart has become incapable of pumping the right amount of blood to the rest of the body. This is usually caused by the heart’s muscles weakening. This is usually fatal.

On the other hand, the right chamber or the right ventricle carries the blood already used from the heart to the lungs to have it oxygenated again. This is then given to the left ventricle, which passes the oxygenated blood to the other parts of the body. That’s the cycle of the heart.

Right-Sided heart failure is said to have occurred when the right ventricle is unable to pump. What this means is that their heart is unable to be filled with the right amount of blood, while the blood will remain in the veins. This is why it is common to see those suffering from right-sided heart failure to have swollen ankles, legs and belly.

Left-sided heart failure

Usually, the pumping action of the heart transports the blood rich in oxygen, from the lungs where it was oxygenated down to the left atrium. The oxygenated blood is transported to the left chamber, which ends transporting the oxygenated blood to the other parts of the body.

The left chamber is where a large percent of the pumping power of the heart is in, and that’s why this chamber is bigger than any other chamber. It is a very important aspect of the heart that can’t be done without.

When left-sided heart failure occurs, the left part has to still work and even harder for enough blood to be pumped.

The normal types of left ventricular heart failure are HFpEF and HFrEF.

The drugs that are used in treating both of them are not the same.

Systolic heart failure or HFrEF- Heart failure coupled with reduced ejection fraction:

This case occurs when the left chamber doesn’t have the ability to normally contract. This makes the heart to be unable to pump using the right amount of force to transport blood through the body.

Diastolic heart failure or HFpEF- Heart failure with diastolic dysfunction or preserved ejection fraction:

In this type, the left chamber won’t be able to normally relax. This occurs because the heart’s muscles are stiff, instead of being flexible. This means that the heart won’t be able to fill properly with blood while the resting period occurs in between every beat.

Right-sided heart failure

Like the heart transports oxygenated blood to the rest of the body, is the same way that the heart collects the blood that is no longer with oxygen. The blood usually gets to the heart via the veins, as well as the right atrium before it is deposited in the right chamber of the heart. The right chamber then moves the blood out if the heart to the lungs to have it oxygenated. When the right chamber can’t do, there is a great chance that right-sided heart failure will occur.

Rich ventricular or right-sided heart failure is normally caused by left-sided heart failure, meaning that if the left ventricle no longer does its job, then right ventricle is in a big problem.

If the left chamber no longer works, the increased fluid pressure that occurs moves via the lungs, thereby destroying the right side of the heart. When the right chamber becomes weakened, the blood moves back to the veins in the body. This is why it is common to see the legs swelling, the ankles swelling, and even the abdomen swelling. Sometimes, it can cause ascites in the liver.

Congestive heart failure

CHF is a kind of failure, where the patient has to go see a doctor immediately. Once the blood that is meant to pump out of the heart with great force is pumped out slowly, the blood that is meant to be sent back to the heart will move back to the vein. This then leads to the congestion of the tissues in the body. It is common to see oedema.

CHF, sometimes, is used instead of right-sided heart failure. For a person suffering from CHF, it is common to see the ankles and legs swelling, though the swelling is not restricted to that part solely.

At times, the fluid may decide to stay in the lungs, instead of being pumped out. The fluid prevents normal breathing from occurring, which then leads to shortness of breath. This is noticed a lot when the person decides to lie down. This is christened, pulmonary oedema, and if it is not treated immediately, it could lead to respiratory distress.

Heart failure not only affects the capabilities of the heart and the lungs, but it can also affect how the kidney works. When there is heart failure, the kidney won’t be able to properly dispose of water and sodium. The water that is retained, instead of being disposed of, can also lead to oedema or the tissues swelling.

What Are the Heart Failure Causes?

Sometimes, right-sided heart failure may just occur out of the blue, without any tangible cause. Usually, in the case of right-sided heart failure, the left ventricle failing causes it. Once the left ventricle is unable to pump blood, the blood moves back to the veins, and may even decide to stay in the lungs.

One thing that should be noted is that heart failure is a condition that lasts for a long time, and may worsen as time progresses.

Sometimes, heart failure may have stemmed from the existence of other health problems in your body. These health conditions damaged the way your heart operated.

Right Sided Heart Failure: Other Causes

There are other things that can lead to right-sided heart failure occurring, and they are:

Coronary artery disease.

This is a very common kind of heart disease. Once it occurs, it usually triggers heart failure. When a person is suffering from coronary artery disease, the arteries in the heart are usually blocked by plaque formation, which leads stops the blood flow to the muscles in your heart. This one cause of right-sided heart failure apart from the left ventricle failing.

High blood pressure.

This is usually the measurement of how your heart is beating and pumping the blood via the arteries.

As your blood pressure increases, the heart will have no choice but to pump harder. What this means is that as time goes on, the muscles of your heart thicken and weaken since they have a lot of work to carry out. The more they pump harder, the higher the risk of one developing right-sided heart failure.

Damaged heart valves.

The valves are what ensure that the blood flows in the right way in the heart. If the valves are destroyed because of a heart defect or an infection of some kind, then your heart has no choice but to work very hard to have the blood pumped.

This makes the heart to weaken quickly.

Congenital heart defects

There are some toddlers that were given with issues in how the structure of their heart is. For those that were, there is a great chance that they may suffer from heart failure, especially the right-sided heart failure because the structure of their heart wasn’t normal at birth. In a case where it is corrected by surgery, the risks are still there.

Arrhythmia.

This condition occurs when the heart isn’t beating in a regular manner. In this case, the heart may beat very slow or very fast. At this moment, the heart is not beating the way that it should.

Usually, this condition is not dangerous, but it can lead to the heart pumping blood that is enough for the body. If you don’t have it treated, it may lead to the heart weakening as time goes on. Why is this so? If the heart beats faster than it should, it could lead to the heart working harder than normal, which can weaken the heart. This could worsen to right-sided heart failure.

Lung disease.

Usually, the issues in the lungs may lead to the right ventricle suffering. The right ventricle is what takes the used blood to the heart to be oxygenated. If the lungs are suffering from a condition, it could lead to right-sided heart failure because the right chamber will expand and fail. It is usually called “cor pulmonale.”

Health conditions like HIV, Diabetes, and thyroid issues can lead to heart failure because they are long term health condition that can’t disappear.