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Systolic heart failure – causes, side effects and treatments at

Thursday, June 28, 2018 by

Systolic heart failure is the layman’s term for “reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) heart failure,” which describes the inability of the left side of the heart to pump out blood properly. Cardiologists use EF as an important diagnostic tool to determine how well the heart is functioning and tracking and/or diagnosing potential failure.

A normal heart’s ejection fraction may fall anywhere between 50 to 70 percent; however, some patients may fall in the normal EF reading and still have heart failure. This occurs when the heart muscle becomes thick and stiff so the ventricle appears to pump out the normal percentage of blood, when in reality, the organ is unable to pump out enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

A reading under 40 percent is evidence of heart failure. Measurements higher than 75 percent indicates a more severe condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a common cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young people.

Known symptoms of systolic heart failure

EF heart failure can cause the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Irregular pulse
  • Leg and ankle swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden weight gain

Body systems harmed by systolic heart failure

Systolic heart failure affects the heart. However, the complications that can arise from a damaged heart are many – one of the reasons why cardiac health is extremely important in overall health.

Potential complications from heart failure can vary from mild to life-threatening. Those with severe cases of systolic heart failure can experience a heart attack, which may affect other body systems.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent systolic heart failure

One of the biggest factors in the development of systolic heart failure is poor diet. This lifestyle choice can lead to the development of plaque buildup in the arterial walls, which inhibits blood flow.

There are specific foods that can be taken to reduce this risk. Some of them are listed below:

  • Garlic – Data suggest that garlic is highly beneficial for people who are at risk of developing a cardiovascular condition. In particular, garlic contains compounds that improve circulation and prevent coagulation. Nutritionists recommend eating one to two freshly crushed cloves daily.
  • Hawthorn – In traditional ethnomedicine, the hawthorn is typically prescribed to treat any heart condition. This is because it improves cardiac muscle contractions, leading to stronger pumping action.
  • Turmeric – Studies show that turmeric can prevent atherosclerosis. The active ingredient in the root, curcumin, has been proven time and again to reduce cholesterol oxidation and clot formation.
  • Cayenne – The pepper contains a compound called capsaicin that remedies irregular heart rhythms while purifying the blood.

Treatments, management plans for systolic heart failure

Thankfully, systolic heart failure can be treated with proper lifestyle choices. This includes getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly.

It is also highly recommended to limit alcohol intake and to quit smoking. These, per se, do not treat or manage the condition, but significantly reduce the risk of the disorder from worsening.

Where to learn more


Systolic heart failure defines a cardiac condition wherein the left side of the heart is unable to supply oxygen-rich blood to the body.

This is the most common form of heart failure.

It is preventable and treatable with proper lifestyle choices.

Sources include:


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