Is There A Treatment For Heart Failure
There are more treatment options available for heart failure than ever before. Tight control over your medications and lifestyle, coupled with careful monitoring, are the first steps. As the condition progresses, doctors specializing in the treatment of heart failure can offer more advanced treatment options.
The goals of treating heart failure are to try to keep it from getting worse , to ease symptoms, and to improve quality of life.
Some common types of medicines used to treat it are:
- ACE inhibitors
- Aldosterone antagonists
- Selective sinus node inhibitors
- Soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator
Your doctor may also recommend a program called cardiac rehabilitation to help you exercise safely and keep up a heart-healthy lifestyle. It usually includes workouts that are designed just for you, education, and tips to lower your chance of heart trouble, like quitting smoking or changing your diet.
Cardiac rehab also offers emotional support. You can meet people like you who can help you stay on track.
Right Sided & Left Sided Heart Failure
When the right side of the heart is not pumping effectively, the blood returning to the heart from the body backs up in the veins. Right sided Heart Failure causes a backup of blood coming into the heart. Symptoms of right sided Heart Failure:
- Swelling in the liver
- Abdominal distention
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
The blood enters the left side of the heart from the lungs. When the left side of the heart is not pumping blood forward well enough, blood backs up, causing fluid accumulation in the lungs. This is also called congestive Heart Failure. Decreased forward blood flow results in less nourishment to the bodys organs and tissues. Symptoms of left sided Heart Failure:
Symptoms Of Heart Failure
Heart failure interferes with the kidney’s normal function of eliminating excess sodium and waste products from the body. In congestive heart failure, the body retains more fluid, yet not all heart failure patients retain fluid. Here are the symptoms of heart failure:
- Shortness of breath during daily activities.
- Having shortness of breath when lying down or sleeping.
- Weight gain with swelling in the feet, legs, ankles, or stomach.
- Generally feeling tired or weak.
Q: Whats Preventing Heart Disease From Being Cured
A: When heart muscle is damaged by heart attack, it cannot regrow. There is some evidence that we may be able to delay or even prevent a heart attack by aggressively treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol. However, once a heart attack occurs and heart muscle dies, we cant regenerate those cells.
Along the same lines, once a heart valve becomes stiff and calcified, there is no way to restore the valves flexibility. It must be repaired or replaced.
Stay On Top Of Medications
One of the most important things for managing congestive heart failure is to take medications consistently and according to instructions. Know which drugs the person youre caring for needs to take and how often they should take them. Also find out what to do if they miss a dose.
If they live alone, you can fill a pillbox with the medications they should take each day of the week. You can also post a simple daily medication schedule on their refrigerator or in their bathroom so they can check off each dose as they take it.
If your loved one has difficulty following the schedule, you might want to call them at regular intervals to make sure they have taken their medications.
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What Are The Causes Of A Flare
A heart failure flare-up means you are retaining fluids in your body, such as in your lungs, ankles or tummy. Extra fluids can be due to a number of causes, including:
- not taking your diuretics or other heart failure medicines regularly
- recent changes in your heart failure medicines
- an infection
- feeling very unwell generally.
Symptoms That Occur First
- Small appearance
- Puffiness around the eyes
However, theres a slight problem when a child is suffering from congestive heart failure. The symptoms mentioned above can very likely be mistaken for a repertory infection or colic. This makes it difficult to diagnose congestive heart failure in children and infants when compared to adults.
If you have any of these symptoms, visit your doctor immediately.
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Left Ventricular Assist Devices
These may be implanted in the chest to increase heart pumping action. Until recently, LVADs required that the patient be hooked up to a large, hospital-based console while awaiting a transplant. Miniaturized battery-powered LVAD units, however, are allowing many patients to leave the hospital. The devices may be used as a primary treatment or as a bridge to heart transplant in adults.
Signs Symptoms And Complications
Symptoms of heart failure depend on the type of heart failure you have and how serious it is. If you have mild heart failure, you may not notice any symptoms except during hard physical work. Symptoms can depend on whether you have left-sided or right-sided heart failure. However, you can have symptoms of both types. Symptoms usually get worse as your heart grows weaker.
Heart failure can lead to serious and life-threatening complications.
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How To Keep Heart Failure From Worsening
To keep heart failure from worsening, a patient must make major changes in their life: Theyll need to eat differently, remember to take their medications, keep as active as possible, and reduce stress. Some of these changes might require breaking habits acquired over many years. As a caregiver, you can help your loved one maximize their quality and length of life. Below are some ways to help.
Keep alert for worsening symptoms. Call the doctor immediately if you observe any of the following:
- Sudden weight gain
- Increased swelling in the legs or ankles
- Shortness of breath while at rest
- A dry, hacking cough or wheezing
- Dizzy or fainting spells
- Increased fatigue or feeling unwell all the time
- Abdominal pain or swelling
How Does Heart Failure Affect Quality Of Life And Lifestyle
With the right care and treatment plan, heart failure may limit your activities, but many adults still enjoy life. How well you feel depends on how well your heart muscle is working, your symptoms and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan. This includes caring for yourself and living a healthy lifestyle .
Because heart failure is a chronic long-term illness, talk to your doctor and your family about your preferences for medical care. You can complete an advance directive or living will to let everyone involved in your care know your desires. A living will details the treatments you do or dont want to prolong your life. It is a good idea to prepare a living will while you are well in case you arent able to make these decisions at a later time.
Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.
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Helping Someone Manage Congestive Heart Failure
Whether your loved one lives alone, with you, or in a long-term care facility, you should encourage them to care for themselves as much as possible. Although you may be tempted to take care of everything for them, theyll feel better about themself if you help them perform tasks on their own. As long as theyre able, they should be involved in managing their symptoms and making decisions about treatment. By taking on too much responsibility for your loved one, you risk taking away their independence and exhausting yourself in the process.
What Are The Symptoms Of Advanced Heart Failure
Symptoms of advanced heart failure may include that you:
- are very short of breath despite not exerting yourself or even at rest, while you are already on quite a few medicines
- need more help with day-to-day chores, such as getting dressed, preparing meals or personal care
- lose your appetite
- feel weak, with no energy and feel very tired
- have repeated hospital admissions due to heart failure or needed to see your doctor multiple times
- are losing weight
- stay in bed most of the time and move around less.
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What You Can Do
Although some risk factors of heart failure, like age, cant be modified, people with CHF can take actions to improve their long-term prognosis. The first step is to become familiar with any family history of heart disease and learn about all the possible symptoms. Don’t ignore suspicious symptoms: let your doctor know about them. Regular exercise and managing concurrent conditions can also help keep CHF under control.
What Medications Should I Avoid If I Have Heart Failure
There are several different types of medications that are best avoided in those with heart failure including:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin or Aleve. For relief of aches, pains, or fever take Tylenol instead.
- Most calcium channel blockers
- Some nutritional supplements, such as salt substitutes, and growth hormone therapies
- Antacids that contain sodium
If youâre taking any of these drugs, discuss them with your doctor.
Itâs important to know the names of your medications, what theyâre used for, and how often and at what times you take them. Keep a list of your medications and bring them with you to each of your doctor visits. Never stop taking your medications without discussing it with your doctor. Even if you have no symptoms, your medications decrease the work of your heart so that it can pump more effectively.
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Women And Heart Failure
Women are just as likely as men to develop heart failure, but there are some differences:
- Women tend to develop heart failure later in life compared with men.
- Women tend to have heart failure caused by high blood pressure and have a normal EF .
- Women may have more shortness of breath than men do. There are no differences in treatment for men and women with heart failure.
Can You Get Better After A Diagnosis Of Heart Failure
Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition, which means it gets worse with time. But even though it doesnt necessarily get better, managing heart failure the right way can help reduce symptoms and slow down the progression of the condition.
I try to get patients to understand that this is not a death sentence, Mountis says.
Depending on the stage and severity of condition, some individuals may need more aggressive treatment, Mountis adds. But it is very possible to live a very good life with a diagnosis of heart failure.
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How Does A Healthy Heart Work
The heart is a muscle about the size of your fist. The hearts job is to pump blood, rich in oxygen and nutrients, to all parts of your body. The left ventricle is the main pumping chamber. In a normal heart, the left ventricle ejects 50% or more of its blood volume out into circulation. This percentage is called the ejection fraction or EF.
- Heart Failure is not a disease.
- Heart Failure is the name used to describe a set of symptoms.
- Heart Failure is caused by diseases that affect the ability of the heart to pump blood.
What Support Is Available With Advanced Heart Failure
The Heart Foundation NZ provides resources and support for those living with a heart condition. You can also find a local support group in your area here. Contact them using their online form or visit their website here.
Extra support is also available if you need it. Talk to your healthcare team to find out how you can access this. It includes:
- equipment to help with your daily chores, such as chair raisers and shower stools
- mobility parking and taxi vouchers to help you get around your community
- carer support to help support your carer who is looking after you
- counselling or mental health support
- needs assessment if you want to move into a rest home or other residential care.
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Get Moving Even A Little
No need to be intimidated if exercise isnt your thing. Even very small steps can make a big difference. Just as with people who havent had heart failure, exercise can get your heart pumping and the rest of your cardiovascular system working. Dont do much of anything, and your body and your heart will get weaker.
Patients can improve their recovery and prognosis with medication compliance and a cardiac-rehabilitation program of physical exercise, explains Dr. Shin. With formal cardiac rehab, youll get evaluated by your doctors and will be given a physical-activity plan tailored specifically for you. These programs usually involve exercise counseling and training, education about healthy living, and strategies for controlling stress in your lifewhich can hurt your heart.
Check with your doctor about whether this type of structured program might be right for you. The American Heart Association has information on how to figure out if youre eligible for it. If youre not, or cant afford it, its still important to do something! Your doctor will be able to tell you what level of activity is safe to start with and may order an exercise stress test to see how much exertion you can safely handle. He or she can also share warning signs to watch for as you start to move more, such as shortness of breath.
How To Live Longer With Heart Failure
Everything you need to know about the various stages of heart failure to live longer with the condition.
A congestive heart failure diagnosis doesnt mean your heart has stopped working, it means that your heart is unable to pump enough blood throughout your body.
Heart failure is a scary term, says , a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. The condition can worsen if the proper steps arent taken to slow or halt the problem, but it does not mean your life is over.
Congestive heart failure, more simply known as heart failure, occurs when there’s a reduction in blood flow throughout the body because blood flow from the heart slows down. That means blood returning to the heart through the veins backs up, causing congestion in the body’s tissues. That congestion may cause swelling in the ankles, legs, or stomach, as well as fluid in the lungs that causes trouble breathing.
Life expectancy with congestive heart failure varies depending on the severity of the condition, genetics, age, and other factors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , around one-half of all people diagnosed with congestive heart failure will survive beyond five years. Only around 10 percent of people diagnosed with the condition survive at least 10 years, according to a study published in August 2013 in the journal Circulation Research.
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How Long Can You Live With End
Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition that worsens with each flare-up. Your outlook and prognosis are better if you are healthy overall, you have been following your treatment plan, and you are responding well to your treatments. Being willing to pursue invasive treatments like a heart transplant will also increase your life expectancy.
What Happens If I Have Advanced Heart Failure
If you have advanced heart failure, it’s likely that you won’t get any better. Your doctor will suggest palliative care treatment to make sure you are living in comfort and to improve your quality of life. Palliative care aims to manage any distressing symptoms you may have and enables you and your whnau to make decisions about how you wish to spend the remainder of your life. Your doctor is likely to refer you to a palliative care team to talk about some of the choices you may want. Read more about palliative care.
It is a good idea to plan your future health care and end-of-life care to help prepare you and your whnau for what the future might hold. This is especially helpful if you can no longer speak for yourself, eg, if you get very sick. It also helps your healthcare team know what health care you want or don’t want. This is known as advance care planning.
If you have advanced heart failure and are towards the end of your life, your doctor may stop your heart failure medicines as they are no longer effective in managing your symptoms. Instead, your doctor may prescribe medicines to relieve your symptoms, such as:
- pain relief medicines to control your pain
- morphine or benzodiazepines to control your breathlessness
- antiemetics if you have nausea or vomiting
- laxatives if you have constipation.
Read more about common symptoms in palliative care.
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What Is The Outlook
It is difficult to give an outlook for an individual. It depends on the cause of the heart failure, whether you have other medical conditions, and how severe it is. Speak to your specialist about your individual case. In general, the more severe the heart failure, the worse the outlook. In many cases, the symptoms remain at a stable level for quite some time before becoming worse. In some cases, where there is a reversible cause, heart failure can get completely better. In some cases, the severity and symptoms become gradually worse over time. Sadly in some cases, heart failure can be fatal. About half of those diagnosed with heart failure die within five years of the diagnosis.
If symptoms become very severe, and are not responding well to treatment, this is known as ‘end-stage heart failure’. In this situation, palliative care from a team of different health professionals may be helpful. The priority in this situation is keeping the person comfortable, and alleviating symptoms as much as possible. A person diagnosed with end-stage heart failure is likely to die over the following 6 to 12 months.
Over recent years, various new treatments have been introduced which have led to a much improved outlook for people with heart failure. Studies are ongoing to establish which treatment options improve outlook the most.