Acıbadem Fulya Hospital Cardiology Specialist Prof. Dr. Bekir Sıtkı Cebeci pointed out that incorrect information about heart failure, which is believed to be correct in the society, can prevent early diagnosis and treatment, and told 6 false information that is thought to be true; made important recommendations and warnings.
Contrary to popular belief, heart failure is not a disease, but a consequence of various diseases. Cardiology Specialist Prof. Dr. Bekir Sıtkı Cebeci lists the main reasons that lead to deterioration of heart functions and heart failure as follows:
- Cardiovascular diseases (with or without a heart attack)
- Heart muscle diseases (impaired contraction and relaxation function of the heart)
- Diseases of the heart valves (stenosis or regurgitation)
- congenital heart diseases
- Various rhythm disorders
- Hypertension, diabetes, thyroid problems (hypo-hyperthyroidism), toxic chemicals (alcohol, various drugs…)
Complaints and findings may not be the same in every patient in heart failure. In some patients, the complaints are less according to the function level of the heart, while in others it can be more severe. Shortness of breath, weakness-fatigue, fatigue, edema in the feet and body, weight gain, bloating in the abdomen, palpitations-pulse irregularity and chronic cough are the main complaints and findings of heart failure. Depending on the degree of insufficiency in patients, some or most of these complaints may develop.
Some of the symptoms that develop in heart failure can also be seen in other diseases. For example, shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue problems; Apart from the heart, it can also occur in lung, blood and muscle diseases. Edema-weight gain can also cause kidney and thyroid diseases. Therefore, the complaints should be interpreted by the doctors of the relevant branches. In order to diagnose heart failure, besides physical examination, cardiac catheterization is performed with echocardiography, cardiac MRI, blood tests and, if necessary, coronary angiography.
The relief of symptoms with treatment does not mean that the patient has recovered. Therefore, quitting drugs is an extremely wrong behavior. Dr. Bekir Sıtkı Cebeci said, “In some cases, even if the heart failure improves with the treatment of the underlying cause, in most cases the disease processes continue. Leaving the treatment uncontrolled after the symptoms and signs of heart failure have been achieved and the balance is achieved with drugs causes the failure to occur again. Even if the drugs are changed according to the stage of the disease, the treatment continues for life. Today, there are modern and effective drug treatments that relieve complaints and control the underlying processes. In addition to these, some patients are also fitted with pacemakers and mechanical heart support devices that increase the contractility of the heart and treat fatal rhythm disorders. prof. Dr. In this way, both the quality of life of the patients and their life span are extended.
A regular sex life is very important for general health, and this is also true for heart patients. Sexual life should continue after cardiac events such as heart failure, myocardial infarction, bypass operation and stent. Restriction of sexual activity is sufficient for 2 weeks after the infarction, and for 6-8 weeks after the by-pass operation, depending on the patient's condition. After this period, the patient's individual performance and clinical picture are taken into account. The effort expended in sexual activity is equivalent to climbing 2 flights of stairs or walking briskly for 20 minutes on a flat road. Patients who perform these activities without any problems and complaints are considered suitable. In addition, the effort stress test to be performed in the hospital environment also helps in decision-making.” says.
If there is chest pain during sexual intercourse, patients who have used erectile dysfunction drugs should definitely not take drugs containing sublingual nitroglycerin, because serious fatal low blood pressure can occur. Cardiology Specialist Prof. Dr. Bekir Sıtkı Cebeci stated that in this case, it would be sufficient to interrupt sexual activity and said, “If the complaint passes, the relationship can be continued at a lower pace. He says that if it does not pass, a health institution should be applied. If the patient is not using this type of medication, he can use sublingual nitroglycerin in case of chest pain. I recommend that the patient discuss all these issues openly with his doctor.” says.
These tips save lives
Since heart failure patients are in the increased risk group, they should be protected from infections. Therefore, it is recommended that patients be vaccinated against pneumonia, influenza and Covid.
Seasonal effects are important for heart failure patients. Therefore, strenuous physical activity should be avoided in very hot and cold weather.
Clothing should be suitable for summer and winter. For example, thin light-colored non-perspiring clothes should be worn in hot weather, and thick-protective clothing should be worn in winter.
Attention should be paid to a healthy and adequate diet. Sufficient fluids should be taken and alcohol and caffeinated beverages should be avoided. The salt content in the diet should be reduced, and the personalized diets determined by the coordination of the cardiologist and dietitian should not be interrupted.
The patient's treatment discipline should be good. Health check-up should be done regularly. For emergencies, the patient and the household must have an action plan. In emergencies, 112 or other private emergency health services should be applied to.
The coordinated approach of the patient, family and health system increases the quality and duration of life.