Causes Of Heart Failure
Coronary heart disease is the major cause of heart attacks. A heart attack can cause scarring of the heart muscle, which means the muscle isnt able to pump blood and oxygen around the body properly. Risk factors for coronary heart disease include:
- electrocardiogram , to monitor the heart rate and pick up any unusual heart rhythms. An ECG can also help assess if the left ventricle is enlarged
- exercise tests or stress tests, to monitor how your heart works when youre physically active. These tests usually involve either walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike while connected to a heart monitor
- lung function tests, to assess how the lungs are working
Reduce The Salt In Your Diet
Enjoying what you eat is important. Even if you crave salt you can learn to like foods that are lower in salt. Your taste buds will change soon, and you will not miss the salt. Removing salt can bring out flavors that may have been hidden by the salt.
Reduce the salt content in your diet by trying the following suggestions:
- Choose plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They contain only small amounts of salt.
- Choose foods that are low in salt, such as fresh meats, poultry, fish, dry and fresh legumes, eggs, milk and yogurt. Plain rice, pasta and oatmeal are good low-sodium choices. However, the sodium content can increase if salt or other high-sodium ingredients are added during their preparation.
- Season with herbs, spices, herbed vinegar and fruit juices. Avoid herb or spice mixtures that contain salt or sodium. Use lemon juice or fresh ground pepper to accent natural flavors. Try orange or pineapple juice as a base for meat marinades. See “Salt-Free Herb Blends,” below, for other ideas.
- Read food labels before you buy packaged foods. Check the nutrition facts on the label for sodium content per serving. Find out the number of servings in the package. How does the sodium in each serving compare to the total sodium you can eat each day? Try to pick packaged foods with a sodium content less than 350 milligrams for each serving. It is also useful to check the list of ingredients. If salt or sodium is listed in the first five ingredients, it is too high in sodium.
What Medications Are Available To Reduce Edema
Diuretic medications can increase the amount of urine output by your kidneys, and thereby reducing the volume of fluid in your blood vessels. This lightens the load your heart has to pump, reducing swelling.
Diuretic medications are especially useful for people with reduced cardiac output in the left side of the heart.
Examples of diuretic medications used for heart failure include loop diuretics such as Lasix and Demadex and thiazide diuretics such as Zaroxolyn .
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Quality Of Patient Care
Brigham and Womens Hospital is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our inpatient satisfaction survey, sent to patients to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and areas for improvement. We pride ourselves in the quality of patient care we provide and how we are measured compared with other hospitals.
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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Heart Failure Treatment Is A Team Effort
Heart failure management is a team effort, and you are the key player on the team. Your heart doctor will prescribe your medications and manage other medical problems. Other team members — including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, exercise specialists, and social workers — will help you achieve success. But it is up to YOU to take your medications, make dietary changes, live a healthy lifestyle, keep your follow-up appointments, and be an active member of the team.
If you notice anything unusual, don’t wait until your next appointment to discuss it with your doctor. Call them right away if you have:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Swelling in your ankles, feet, legs, or belly that gets worse
- Shortness of breath that gets worse or happens more often, especially if you wake up feeling that way
- Bloating with a loss of appetite or nausea
- Extreme fatigue or more trouble finishing your daily activities
- A lung infection or a cough that gets worse
- Fast heart rate
- New irregular heartbeat
Improving Quality Of Life
Currently, CHF has no cure. People living with the disease have to commit to heart-healthy lifestyles and take medication regularly.
To stay healthy, here are some tips to follow.
Tips for Living Better with CHF
- Monitor symptoms and check for sudden weight gain and swelling in legs and feet.
- Monitor blood pressure and weight and get lab work done regularly to be aware of your heart health and disease progression.
- Stay positive and find ways to alleviate stress including finding relaxing hobbies, talking to a therapist, finding a support group or talking to loved ones and friends.
- Ask questions about the stage of your disease and guidelines for how active you should be. This includes work, sex and exercise. Depending on the stage of disease, your doctor will have different recommendations about how active you should be, including work, sexm and exercise.
- Keep all appointments with your doctors.
- Make all the lifestyle changes your doctor recommends. If you need help with your diet, ask to see a nutritionist or dietician.
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The Four Congestive Heart Failure Stages
If left untreated, congestive heart failure symptoms may go from non-existent to disabling.
This is divided into four classes:
Diet And Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart does not pump efficiently and does not deliver enough oxygen to your body. Many diseases lead to CHF, such as high blood pressure and diseases of the heart and kidney.
Treatment for CHF helps to prevent its complications and relieve its symptoms.
The heart does not have to work as hard when you make some changes in your diet. If you eat too much salt or drink too much fluid, your body’s water content may increase and make your heart work harder. This can worsen your CHF. The following diet will help decrease some of your symptoms.
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What Happens In Congestive Heart Failure
The heart has two upper chambers and two lower chambers . Normally, blood:
But in heart failure, the heart cant work as it should and not enough blood and oxygen get to the organs. And blood backs up in the heart and then into the lungs.
What Are The Types Of Heart Failure
Systolic dysfunction happens when the heart muscle doesn’t contract with enough force, so there is less oxygen-rich blood pumped throughout the body.
Diastolic dysfunction happens when the heart contracts normally, but the ventricles donât relax properly or are stiff, and less blood enters the heart during normal filling.
A calculation done during an echocardiogram, called the ejection fraction , is used to measure how well your heart pumps with each beat to help determine if systolic or diastolic dysfunction is present. Your doctor can discuss which condition you have.
Congestive Heart Failure: Prevention Treatment And Research
Congestive heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart doesnt pump blood as efficiently as it should. Despite its name, heart failure doesnt mean that the heart has literally failed or is about to stop working. Rather, it means that the heart muscle has become less able to contract over time or has a mechanical problem that limits its ability to fill with blood. As a result, it cant keep up with the bodys demand, and blood returns to the heart faster than it can be pumped outit becomes congested, or backed up. This pumping problem means that not enough oxygen-rich blood can get to the bodys other organs.
The body tries to compensate in different ways. The heart beats faster to take less time for refilling after it contractsbut over the long run, less blood circulates, and the extra effort can cause heart palpitations. The heart also enlarges a bit to make room for the blood. The lungs fill with fluid, causing shortness of breath. The kidneys, when they dont receive enough blood, begin to retain water and sodium, which can lead to kidney failure. With or without treatment, heart failure is often and typically progressive, meaning it gradually gets worse.
More than 5 million people in the United States have congestive heart failure. Its the most common diagnosis in hospitalized patients over age 65. One in nine deaths has heart failure as a contributing cause.
What Are Some Diet Modifications To Reduce Swelling
Edema, or swelling, can occur with congestive heart failure because your heart is not able to keep up with the circulation of blood in the body. A low salt diet will reduce the amount of fluid your kidneys retain.
According to the 2013 ACCF/AHA Guideline for Management of Heart Failure, limiting your liquid intake to 1.5 to 2 liters per day is recommended.
What Happens When Blood Backs Up In The Heart
If blood backs up in the heart, theres no room for the blood that’s returning from the body and lungs. So that blood stays in the blood vessels of the lungs and the body. Some fluid from the blood vessels leaks out into the tissues. This leads to fluid in the lungs and swelling in the legs and ankles .
What Is The Role Of Implanted Devices In Congestive Heart Failure
An ICD is an implantable cardiac defibrillator that can be life-saving. The ICD is implanted under the skin in the chest or abdomen. The device is able to monitor your heart rate 24 hours a day.
ICDs can act as pacemakers, which means that they can send electric signals to your heart when an abnormal heart rhythm is detected. This can result in a return to a normal heart rhythm. Another option is CRT implantation.
CRT is selected for patients with a normal heart rhythm but reduced left heart ejection fraction. A cardiologist will be able to determine the most suitable device.
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What Causes Heart Failure
Heart failure can start suddenly after a medical condition or injury damages your heart muscle. But in most cases, heart failure develops slowly from long-term medical conditions.
Conditions that can cause heart failure include:
What Are The Treatment Options For Congestive Heart Failure
According to the American Heart Association, main treatment options for congestive heart failure include lifestyle modification, monitored cardiac rehabilitation, prescription medications, electronic heart implants, and surgical procedures. This article will explain in detail the specific treatment options in these broad categories.
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Surgery For Heart Failure
- Coronary bypass surgery treats blocked arteries by removing healthy arteries from other parts of the body and using them to reroute blood around clogged arteries. This improves blood flow to the heart. If severely blocked arteries are a contributing factor to your heart failure, your physician may suggest bypass surgery.
- Heart valve replacement modifies a faulty heart valve to eliminate backward blood flow. A surgeon will either repair the valve, if possible, or replace it with an artificial valve.
- Ventricular assist devices are mechanical pumps implanted in the abdomen or chest and attached to the weakened heart. The devices help pump blood from the lower heart chamber to the rest of your body.
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators are implanted beneath the skin in the chest with wires leading through the veins and into the heart. These devices monitor heart rhythm and will shock the heart back into normal rhythm if it develops a life-threatening arrhythmia. They can also act as pacemakers, speeding up the heart if it begins beating too slowly.
- Cardiac resynchronization therapy, also known as biventricular pacing, sends electrical pulses to the hearts lower chambers to help them pump more efficiently.
- Heart transplant is an option in the most serious heart failure cases, when medication or surgery do not help. The procedure involves removing the damaged heart and replacing it with a healthy one from an organ donor.
Pacemakers And Other Devices
The heart has its own electrical system that regulates the heartbeat. With every heartbeat, there’s an electrical signal that travels through your heart, causing it to contract and pump blood around the body.
For some people with heart failure, the electrical system doesnt work properly. People with heart failure have an increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms , like atrial fibrillation. If you have an abnormal heart rhythm, you may need a pacemaker or device to regulate the heart rate and rhythm.
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You Don’t Have To Face Hf Alone
The term heart failure makes it sound like the heart is no longer working at all and theres nothing that can be done. Actually, heart failure means that the heart isnt pumping as well as it should be. Congestive heart failure is a type of heart failure that requires seeking timely medical attention, although sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably.
Your body depends on the hearts pumping action to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the bodys cells. When the cells are nourished properly, the body can function normally.With heart failure, the weakened heart cant supply the cells with enough blood. This results in fatigue and shortness of breath and some people have coughing. Everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying groceries can become very difficult.
Heart failure is a term used to describe a heart that cannot keep up with its workload. The body may not get the oxygen it needs.
Heart failure is a serious condition, and usually theres 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. Its also helpful to have the support of family and friends who understand your condition.
Treatments For Heart Failure
Treatment for heart failure usually aims to control the symptoms for as long as possible and slow down the progression of the condition.
How you’re treated will depend on what is causing your heart failure.
Common treatments include:
- lifestyle changes including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and stopping smoking
- medicine a range of medicines can help many people need to take 2 or 3 different types
- devices implanted in your chest these can help control your heart rhythm
- surgery such as a or a heart transplant
Treatment will usually be needed for life.
A cure may be possible when heart failure has a treatable cause. For example, if your heart valves are damaged, replacing or repairing them may cure the condition.
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Recognized By Us News & World Report
UT Southwestern Medical Center has earned High Performing recognition from U.S. News & World Report for treatment of heart failure, placing us among the countrys leading hospitals in this area of care.
UT Southwestern Medical Centers heart failure specialists have the expertise and state-of-the-art technologies and techniques to properly diagnose and treat all severities of heart failure.
Using advanced diagnostic tools and evidence-based therapies, our heart failure team improves the lives of people who suffer from this condition.
Leaders in Heart and Vascular Care
Combining attentive, compassionate care with our extensive clinical and research resources, UT Southwestern’s cardiology experts and vascular specialists deliver individualized care within pre-eminent health care facilities.