Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's need for blood and oxygen. While there is no cure, many people with heart failure lead full, enjoyable lives, provided the condition is managed and a healthy lifestyle is adopted.
There are many causes of heart failure. Luckily, most of them are preventable.
Coronary artery disease. High blood pressure. Faulty heart valves. Damage to the heart muscle. Heart failure can be the result of one or all of these factors, as well as others. But here’s the good news: many of these underlying causes of heart failure can be prevented when you live your life with a healthy heart in mind... Read more.
The Top Five Questions to Ask Your Cardiologist.
Perhaps you’re going to the cardiologist because your physician recommended it. Or maybe you have a family history of heart disease, and you want to stay on top of it. Or you have high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, or both... Read more.
What Heart Failure Means, and How to Treat It.
Heart failure means just that; your heart is failing to perform its vital function: pumping blood, and therefore oxygen and nutrients, through your body. Cardiologists from St. Luke’s Heart and Vascular Center warn, “When this most important muscle is weakened or injured, all other organs in your body suffer.” Read more.
Regular follow-up with the Heart Failure Care Team will provide you access to registered nurses, dieticians, social workers, home care, and physical/occupational therapists, in addition to your doctor. This team of dedicated specialists will help you manage your CHF. Continue to take these steps:
- Have regular follow-up visits with your doctor and other health care professionals and keep them informed about symptoms or changes in your condition
- If you gain 5 pounds or more in a given week, contact your physician immediately. Most likely, your doctor will adjust your levels of medication
- Reduce your risk factors – eliminate tobacco use, exercise regularly, eat a heart-healthy diet, reduce stress and take any/all medications prescribed by your doctor
- If you have had surgery, consider attending a Cardiac Rehabilitation program
While heart failure cannot be cured, symptoms can be managed with the following treatments:
- Healthy lifestyle choices
- Medication, such as beta blockers or diuretics, to prevent clots from forming and to prevent stroke.
- Surgeries to improve symptoms of heart failure may include:
- Heart valve repair or replacement
- Pacemaker insertion
- Correction of congenital heart defects
- Coronary artery bypass surgery
- For advanced heart failure, patients may be given the option for an implantable ventricular assist device (VAD)
Along with a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures to determine if angina is related to a serious heart condition may include:
- A chest x-ray
- Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
- Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE or stress echo)
- Coronary angiogram and cardiac catheterization
- Angioplasty or stenting, may be performed immediately to clear the arteries