Your source for up-to-date information on Heart Failure, it's causes, treatments, and latest news

Some Heart Failure Glossary Terms:

An irregular Heartbeat. Tachycardia arrhythmia occurs when the Heart Rate is more than 100 Beats per Minute (BPM). Bradycardia occurs when the Heart Rate is less than 60 BPM. Patients complain of a fluttering sensation in their chest.

Beta Blockers-(Beta-adrenergic Blocking Agents)
Used to prevent chest pain (angina), alleviate high blood pressure (hypertension) and in some cases, to prevent further heart attacks.

BNP-(Brain Natriuretic Peptide)
A blood test to help doctors evaluate cardiac function. This amino acid/peptide is secreted by the ventricles and is elevated in patients with aneurysms or lesions in the Left Ventricle (LV). The more severe the damage to the LV, the higher the levels of BNP. Normal BNP levels range from 0-99 picograms per liter. Abnormal levels of BNP range from 100-900 picograms per liter, depending on the severity of Heart Failure (HF).

Cardiac Arrest
When blood circulation stops suddenly, causing the blood supply to quit flowing through the Heart and circulatory system. Cardiac Arrest can result in instant death. In the US, about 1000 people die daily as a result of Cardiac Arrest.

A group of fats found in the bloodstream and all cells in the body. There are two types of cholesterol-HDL and LDL. Contrary to popular understanding, cholesterol can be considered good or bad.

Present at birth. Congenital diseases can be associated with infections or injuries that the mother contracts during pregnancy. Congenital diseases can also be due to hereditary factors.

See Heart Failure Glossary


By Sheryl McCormick

Heart Failure affects people to varying degrees. The New York Heart Association has categorized each of the diagnosis into four classifications. Class I and Class II are considered mild. Class III is considered moderate and Class IV is severe.
The following is an explanation of the four classes of Heart Failure and the results associated with each class.

As mentioned in other articles (See “Symptoms of Heart Failure”) detecting heart failure isn’t always easy; especially in the beginning. That presents a double-edged sword. While not knowing you have heart failure can be dangerous, if you are reading this now, you are apparently aware enough to want to do something about it before it escalates. With proper diet and exercise, heart failure can be dealt with before it moves into a Class II category.

In Class I there are no restrictions of physical activity. Patients generally don’t complain of being overly tired or of experiencing shortness of breath. A patient is still able to control the disease. Regular exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, and eating healthy (with moderate sodium intake), are all actions that can be taken quite easily. High blood pressure will need to be treated. Quitting smoking is crucial.

With Class II heart failure, patients will feel slight restrictions with everyday physical actions like bending over or walking. They will be tired and shortness of breath may occur. Non-invasive surgical procedures like ACE-Inhibitors or Beta Blockers (depending on the patient), may be considered.

Class III heart failure patients experience definite limitations during physical activity. They may remain comfortable at rest, but most all physical activity will cause undue fatigue. Under physician care, their diet and exercise may be monitored. Diuretics, to combat water retention, may be prescribed.

Patients in Class IV heart failure are virtually unable to do any physical activity without discomfort. There may be significant signs of cardiac problems even while resting. Surgical options will be explored along with the same attention given to treatments in Classes I-III.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute estimates that 35% of patients with Heart Failure are in functional NYHA Class I, 35% are in Class II, 25% are in Class III and 5% are in Class IV. It has been estimated that between 5 and 15 % of patients with Heart Failure have persisting sever symptoms.

Physicians and patients can work together through each of the four classes to monitor and, hopefully, control heart failure. Strict attention to physician advice and treatment(s) is strongly recommended.

See also:

Causes of Heart Failure

Symptoms of Heart Failure

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The Heart Failure Center does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The contents of The Heart Failure Center Site ("Content") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or any symptoms you may have. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

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