Congestive heart failure is a significant health issue in India, affecting 1.3 million to 4.6 million people. Every year, a substantial number of new cases of congestive heart failure are reported, ranging from 4,91,600 to 1.8 million.

Congestive heart failure or heart failure occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t pump enough blood to give your body a normal blood supply. In congestive heart failure, your heart continues to work, but it can’t handle the amount of blood in circulation. This results in blood buildup in your other body parts like lungs, legs, and feet. 

Certain conditions, like coronary artery disease (narrowed arteries in the heart) and high blood pressure, make your heart muscles stiff or too weak to pump efficiently. You might experience shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, irregular heartbeat, cough, wheezing, and swelling due to congestive heart failure. It is classified into left-sided heart failure, right-sided heart failure, and high-output heart failure.

All conditions leading to congestive heart failure cannot be reversed. However, treatments can help improve your symptoms and help you live longer. Lifestyle changes like regular exercise, a low-sodium diet, stress management, and weight loss can improve the quality of your life.

Many effective homeopathic medicines are available for managing congestive heart failure. However, the selection is based on your individuality, considering your mental and physical symptoms.

Role of homeopathy in congestive heart failure

Homeopathy is effective in managing the symptoms of congestive heart failure to help you lead a better life. The final selection is based on your physical and mental symptoms to help you manage your condition better.

Top five homeopathic medicines for congestive heart failure

Aurum metallicum (Aur.)

Common name: Metallic gold

Aurum met. is helpful in congestive heart failure with weakness of heart muscles. The sensation of the heart stopping to beat for a few seconds is marked in this remedy. It is immediately followed by a tumultuous rebound and sinking sensation at the epigastrium. Aurum met. is indicated for oppression at the heart, with rapid, feeble, and irregular pulse. Congestive heart failure with high blood pressure calls for this remedy.

Digitalis purpurea (Dig.)

Common name: Foxglove

Digitalis is suited for congestive heart failure with an irregular heartbeat. There is a sensation that the heart would stop beating if the person moved. The person must hold his breath and keep still. Congestive heart failure with an irregular, slow, and weak pulse indicates Digitalis. The pulse is intermittent at every third, fifth, or seventh beat. Digitalis works well in case of a weak heart, where the slightest movement causes violent palpitations. Tightness in the heart muscles, with a suffocating sensation, responds well to Digitalis.

Crataegus oxyacantha (Crat.)

Common name: Hawthorn berries

Crataegus is used in congestive heart failure due to coronary insufficiency. This remedy is considered a heart tonic. Crataegus has action on heart muscles that seem flabby and worn out. Congestive heart failure with heart weakness and oppression can be treated with this remedy. Extreme dyspnea on the slightest exertion without much pulse rate increase is the characteristic symptom of this remedy. There is a sensation as if there are stitches in the heart. Other indications of this remedy include weak first heart sound, incompetent valves, and valvular murmurs.

Laurocerasus (Laur.)

Common name: Cherry laurel

Laurocerasus is indicated for congestive heart failure with pain in the heart region. There is clutching at the heart with palpitations. Weak, irregular, variable, or slow pulse are marked in this remedy. 

Strophanthus hispidus (Stroph-h.)

Common name: Kombe seed

Strophanthus is prescribed for congestive heart failure with edema of the legs. It is suited for a weak heart with rapid, irregular heartbeats. Congestive heart failure due to muscular debility and insufficiency can be treated with Strophanthus. The pulse is often rapid, alternating as weak, slow, and irregular.

Causes for congestive heart failure

Coronary artery disease 

The deposition of fat in your arteries leads to coronary artery disease. This results in reduced blood flow to your heart, causing congestive heart failure.

High blood pressure 

If your blood pressure is high, your heart has to put in excess effort to circulate blood. This extra strain gradually makes your heart muscle too rigid or weak. This eventually affects its ability to pump blood efficiently, leading to congestive heart failure.

Damaged heart valves

The valves of your heart ensure the blood flows properly in your heart chambers. However, when your cardiac valve gets damaged due to coronary artery disease, heart defect, or heart infection, it can lead to congestive heart failure.

Cardiomyopathy 

Cardiomyopathy or damage to the heart muscle can be caused by genetics, diseases, infections, alcohol, and certain drugs. This can result in congestive heart failure.

Myocarditis

Inflammation of the heart muscle or myocarditis caused by a virus can cause left-sided heart failure.

Congenital heart defects

If your heart or its chambers or heart valves haven’t formed correctly, your heart has to work harder to pump blood, which, in turn, may lead to congestive heart failure.

Abnormal heart rhythms 

Abnormal heart rhythms or heart arrhythmias make your heart beat too fast, putting an extra load on your heart. This eventually leads to congestive heart failure.

Chronic diseases 

Diseases like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, hemochromatosis, amyloidosis, and HIV can also contribute to congestive heart failure.

Symptoms of congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure can be acute (starts suddenly) or chronic (develops gradually). Signs and symptoms of heart failure differ from mild to severe. Some people may not experience the symptoms. However, symptoms of congestive heart failure get worse over time. Some common signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath on exertion
  • Waking up with breathing difficulty at night
  • Rapid or increased or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Persistent dry, hacking cough
  • Wheezing with pink or white blood-tinged foamy mucus
  • Fatigue after activity
  • Weakness
  • Decreased ability to exercise
  • Swelling in your ankles, abdomen, and feet
  • Increased urination at night
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Sudden weight gain due to fluid retention

Treatment for congestive heart failure

There’s no cure for congestive heart failure. As you can’t reverse the  heart failure damage, the goal of treatment is to prevent further progression of the heart failure.

Stage A treatment

Stage A, or pre-heart failure, is a phase where you are at a high risk for heart failure due to a family history of heart failure or some medical conditions. Treatment for stage A congestive heart failure includes:

Stage B treatment

Stage B pre- heart failure is when your left ventricle is structurally abnormal or isn’t functioning well. However, you don’t have any symptoms of heart failure at this stage. Treatment for Stage B congestive heart failure includes:

  • Beta-blockers are prescribed if there is a history of heart attack or if the ejection fraction is 40% or lower.
  • Aldosterone antagonists are prescribed if there is a history of heart attack or if the ejection fraction is 35% or less.
  • Surgical intervention is advised for coronary artery blocks, heart attacks, valvular diseases, or congenital heart disease.

Stage C treatment

Congestive heart failure is diagnosed in stage 3. In this stage, you have signs and symptoms of heart failure. Treatment for Stage C congestive heart failure includes:

Stage D treatment

Stage D congestive heart failure with reduced ejection fraction has advanced symptoms that don’t improve with treatment. Treatment for Stage D congestive heart failure includes:

Diet and lifestyle changes for congestive heart failure

Maintaining healthy weight

Maintaining optimal weight is essential, as excess weight can strain the heart, leading to congestive heart failure.

Diet

Consume foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins that promote your heart health. A diet low in saturated and trans fats, sodium, and cholesterol can help manage heart failure.

Exercise

Regular physical exercise is important for managing congestive heart failure. Walking, swimming, or other moderate exercise improves your cardiovascular function.

Stop tobacco consumption

Quit tobacco products, as smoking is a significant risk factor for heart failure.

Alcohol in moderation

Limit or abstain from alcohol consumption, as excessive alcohol can negatively impact heart function.

Conclusion     

Heart failure can be a life-threatening condition. To prevent heart failure, adhere to prescribed medications, adopt a low-sodium diet, maintain physical activity, attend follow-up appointments, and track your symptoms. Homeopathy offers symptomatic relief in congestive heart failure. Consult a homeopathic doctor for personalized management along with conventional care.

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