• Congestive Heart Failure

    Heart failure is a serious condition, and usually there’s no cure. But many people with heart failure lead a full, enjoyable life when the condition is managed with heart failure medications and healthy lifestyle changes. It’s also helpful to have the support of family and friends who understand your condition.

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    Dr. Sean Virani, MD, MSc, MPH, FRCPC, FCCS, Cardiologist, gives and explanation of what heart failure is and how it occurs.
    Dr. Sean Virani, MD, MSc, MPH, FRCPC, FCCS, Cardiologist, gives and explanation of what heart failure is and how it occurs.
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    Dr. Sean Virani, MD, MSc., MPH, FRCPC, FCCS, Cardiologist, talks about how heart failure is diagnosed accurately.
    Dr. Sean Virani, MD, MSc., MPH, FRCPC, FCCS, Cardiologist, talks about how heart failure is diagnosed accurately.
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    Dr. Sean Virani, MD, MSc., MPH, FRCPC, FCCS, Cardiologist, talks about the symptoms a person might experience when they have heart failure.
    Dr. Sean Virani, MD, MSc., MPH, FRCPC, FCCS, Cardiologist, talks about the symptoms a person might experience when they have heart failure.
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    Dr. Sean Virani, MD, MSc, MPH, FRCPC, FCCS, Cardiologist, talks about the importance of lifestyle with heart failure.
    Dr. Sean Virani, MD, MSc, MPH, FRCPC, FCCS, Cardiologist, talks about the importance of lifestyle with heart failure.
  • What is Heart Failure

    Broadly speaking, heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump blood and oxygen to our organs and tissues. The heart only does two things: it pumps, and it relaxes. So any dysfunction in the pumping function or the relaxing function can result in heart failure. Heart failure is typically a disease of the elderly. Many of the risk factors for development of heart failure are things that we see in higher prevalence in the elderly; for example, high blood pressure.

                        

     

    They can also be the cumulative effect of a number of different toxins that you’ve consumed over your life, or degeneration of the heart valves. But for whatever reason you develop heart failure, it tends to be more common in the elderly, and that’s sort of people over the age of 65.

    What’s interesting is that as the population ages and we see changes in the population pyramid, there’s going to be an increasing number of people in North America—and worldwide for that matter—who have heart failure. And it’s estimated that by 2050 about 40 percent of the population will be over the age of 65. So we’re going to clearly see an increase in the prevalence of heart failure as we move forward.  Often seeing a local family physician or a physiotherapist in conjunction with a registered dietitian and athletic therapist is a great option to take control of this condition.

    If you have any of the conditions I talked about: high blood pressure, problems with your valves or others, and think that you might be at risk for heart failure, I would encourage you to talk to your GP or cardiologist about it.

    Presenter: Dr. Sean Virani, Cardiologist, Vancouver, BC

    Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

  • The Treatment of Heart Failure

    The treatment for heart failure really depends on what type of heart failure you have—whether it’s a problem with the pumping function of the heart or the relaxing function of the heart. And the medications we use to treat patients will really depend on these factors. It may also depend on what the cause of the heart failure is.

    Regardless of what the cause of your heart failure is, or what type of heart failure you have, one thing that we recommend for all our patients is lifestyle modification. Focusing around making good choices with respect to diet, salt, fluid restriction, as well as engaging in a structured exercise program to improve your overall cardiovascular well-being.

    Wearable technology measuring your heart rate, blood pressure and weight on a daily basis can be helpful to your physician in terms of helping you to manage your heart failure. It can also be helpful in terms of optimizing the medications that you’re receiving for treatment of your heart failure, and get you on a path to wellness sooner.

    If you’re looking to make some changes, including your diet, and lifestyle, engage in an exercise program, I’d encourage you to reach out to your primary care physician to figure out what resources might be available in your community to help you along this path.   Often seeing a local family physician or a pharmacist in conjunction with a registered dietitian is a great option to take control of dehydration.   

    Presenter: Dr. Sean Virani, Cardiologist, Vancouver, BC

     Now Health Network Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

  • The Symptoms of Heart Failure

    Heart failure is a great masquerader, and patients can present with any number of symptoms. I would suggest the most common, however, is shortness of breath. That’s because patients will develop fluid in their lungs as a complication of heart failure, and that leads to shortness of breath.

    That fluid can build up in other parts of the body as well, though: in your feet, leading to edema, or swelling of the feet; in your tummy, leading to abdominal bloating or ascites; patients may have difficulty breathing when they go to bed at night and have to prop themselves up on pillows.

    So a lot of changes around breathing and feeling short of breath. If patients aren’t getting enough oxygen or blood going to their muscles or other tissues, they may get fatigued. Other patients will be foggy or may not be thinking clearly because they’re not getting enough blood going to their brain. Again, changes in your breathing may be an important symptom of developing or worsening heart failure.

    Smart Food Now Presenter: Dr. Sean Virani, Cardiologist, Vancouver, BC

    Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

Heart Failure Now

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