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Heart failure

One of the most important organs in humans is the heart, which, together with the blood vessels and blood comprises the circulatory system. The heart is a very complex muscle. It is made of four chambers, two upper ant two lower. The smaller upper chambers are called atria, while the two lower bigger chambers are called ventricles. Therefore, the heart is composed of left atrium, right atrium, left ventricle and right ventricle. The function of the heart is to pump the blood that is rich in oxygen and nutrients to the cells and tissues everywhere in the body. Heart failure is classified according to the part of the heart that is affected or according to the function of the heart that is affected.

Systolic vs. diastolic heart failure

When the muscles of the heart become too weak and unable to pump enough blood that the body needs, congestive heart failure is caused. This condition is chronic and progressive. Systolic heart failure occurs when the chambers that contract in order to pump out the blood are affected. On the other hand, diastolic heart failure happens when the chambers that expand themselves to receive the blood are affected. Furthermore, right-sided heart failure occurs when only right ventricle is affected, while left-sided heart failure happens when only the left ventricle is affected.

The heart contracts and relaxes constantly. When the heart contacts, it is called systole, while the relaxation of the heart is called diastole. A systole and a diastole make one heart beat. During a systole, the blood is pumped out from the ventricles, while during a diastole, the ventricles fill themselves with the blood. Systolic heart failure occurs because of the systolic dysfunction or problems with contractions, while diastolic heart failure occurs due to diastolic dysfunction or problems with filling the ventricles.

Symptoms of systolic and diastolic heart failure

Systolic heart failure is more frequent in men, while diastolic heart failure is more common in women. When chronic systolic heart failure occurs in women, it is manifested through the swollen ankles, shortness of breath that occurs due to the water accumulation in the lungs and the high pressure in the jugular veins in the neck. However, the warning signs of these two heart failures are the same. The most common symptoms of these heart failures are fatigue, shortness of breath, chest congestion and constant cough, as well as wheezing, rapid heart beating, and the pain that appears in the chest.

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