What Does it Mean to be in Heart Failure?
Posted by: Tampa Cardio
On: May 3, 2023
To the non-medically trained ear, this sounds like a death sentence. The truth is that many people are alive and fairly well even in this state.
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure is a condition wherein the heart can’t supply enough blood to the body. It can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and weight gain.
When the heart can’t provide enough oxygen and blood to the body’s other organs, it is then diagnosed as heart failure. This condition can lead to fluid and blood returning to the lungs. Other organs may also not be able to function normally due to the lack of oxygen.
The development of heart failure can be caused by the weakening of the heart muscle or the inability to pump properly. The ejection fraction is a percent measure of how the heart is squeezing to get enough blood to the body. If the heart is not squeezing well enough, it will have a reduced ejection fraction.
When the heart can’t pump properly and meet the needs of the body, it can develop into heart failure. The weakening of the heart muscle itself is known as cardiomyopathy.
Although it’s a serious condition, treatments have improved in recent years giving hope to those who have it.
A Look at Heart Failure in the United States
The CDC reported that there are about 6.2 million Americans suffering from heart failure.
Being diagnosed with heart failure can lead to costly hospitalizations. Having the proper treatment can help lower these costs.
Symptoms of heart failure
When the heart fails, it can prevent the kidneys from properly removing waste and excess sodium from the body. Complications from heart failure can also lead to fluid buildup in the body.
You may experience:
Shortness of breath during daily activities
Having shortness of breath when lying down or sleeping
Edema (swelling of the feet, legs, ankles, or stomach)
Malaise (tired and weak)
Other conditions such as heart attack and high blood pressure are also known to lead to heart failure. However, some people never find a direct known cause.
Untreated conditions can increase a person’s lifetime risk of heart failure. These include obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Along with that lifestyle choices such as smoking, illegal drugs, alcohol, high-fat high salt foods, lack of exercise, and not going to the doctor regularly.
Getting the proper diagnosis and treatment can help improve the quality of life. Usually, this condition can be treated through medication and regular physical activity. However, it’s also important to monitor their symptoms and weight.
A treatment strategy for heart failure involves combining various therapies, including medications, procedures, and lifestyle changes. This can help patients live longer and reduce their symptoms.
Recently, there have been advancements in the field of medicine that allow doctors to provide patients with new medications for those with weak heart muscles. These new medications can help improve the heart’s function and reduce the likelihood of hospitalizations.
New medications for heart failure include a combination drug known as Sacubitril-Valsartan. It can replace older drugs such as losartan and lisinopril.
Another type of medication that’s commonly used to treat diabetes is another drug known as Dapagliflozin. It can help improve the outcomes in patients with heart failure even without diabetes.
An ACE Inhibitor, ARB or ARNI
A Beta blocker (carvedilol or metoprolol succinate)
An Aldosterone antagonist (spironolactone or eplerenone)
An SGLT2 Inhibitor (dapagliflozin)
Many heart failure patients require various procedures and surgeries to open blocked arteries or replace damaged heart valves. Advanced cases may require a mechanical heart pump or a transplant.
Life With Heart Failure
Patients suffering from heart failure must take the necessary steps to manage their condition at home. The following acronym can help patients remember these vital activities.
Medications: Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor and heart care team, let them know if you don’t tolerate your medications, and don’t run out of them.
Activity: Stay active and do weight baring exercise of some sort as well as cardio and movement
Weight: Weigh yourself each day, a recognize when changes in your weight mean you are retaining more fluid.
Diet: Follow your plan, low salt – less than 2 grams per day, and limit fluid intake to less than 2 liters per day.
Symptoms: Learn to recognize signs and when to call for help.
Living well with heart failure can be done. It takes some effort and adherence to a plan that can be created by your cardiologist. If you are in the Tampa Florida area and have heart failure or suspect you may have heart failure, the time to call Tampa Cardiovascular Associates of Tampa Bay is now. 813-975-2800. Make your appointment today. www.Tampacardio.com.
Posted by: Tampa Cardio