|Heart failure is a chronic condition. Treatment for heart failure depends on how severe your case is. In some cases, it can be corrected by treating the underlying cause. Doctors usually treat heart failure, and the underlying conditions that cause it, with a combination of medications, dietary changes, and other therapies, if necessary. Left untreated, heart failure continues to worsen.
Your doctor will ask you to take medicines to treat your heart failure. Medicines treat the symptoms, prevent your heart failure from getting worse, and help you live longer. It is very important that you take your medicine as your health care team directed. View a full list of medications.
Surgeries, Devices and TherapiesThe following surgeries and devices for certain patients with heart failure may be recommended:
You will need to make changes to your diet, especially the amount of salt you eat. Patients with weakened hearts may need implanted devices (such as pacemakers, implantable cardiac defibrillators, or devices that help the heart pump blood) or surgery, including heart transplantation. Alegent Creighton Health's Heart Care Support Group is devoted to helping you learn to live with your condition while sharing your experiences with others.
Alegent Creighton Health dietitians recommend the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.) http://www.alegentcreighton.com/DashDiet
Other important changes to make in your lifestyle:
Heart failure can suddenly get worse due to:
Heart failure is usually a chronic illness, which may get worse over time. Some people develop severe heart failure, in which medicines, other treatments, and surgery no longer help.
Many people are at risk for deadly heart rhythms. These people often receive an implanted defibrillator to restore a normal heart rhythm if a deadly abnormal heart rhythm occurs.
If you have heart failure, your doctor will monitor you closely. You will have follow-up appointments at least every 3 to 6 months, but sometimes much more often. You will also have tests to check your heart function.
Knowing your body and the symptoms that your heart failure is getting worse will help you stay healthier and out of the hospital. At home, watch for changes in your heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, and weight.
Weight gain, especially over a day or two, can be a sign that your body is holding onto extra fluid and your heart failure is getting worse. Talk to your doctor about what you should do if your weight goes up or you develop more symptoms.
Calling your health care provide if you develop
Go to the Emergency Department or call 9-1-1 if you experience:
Severe Heart FailureSevere heart failure occurs when treatments no longer work. Certain treatments may be used when a person is waiting for a heart transplant:
It's important to keep your heart failure under control by taking medicine, changing your lifestyle, and treating the condition that caused it. Alegent Creighton Health offers the Heart Care Support Group, for those who are learning to live with Heart Failure. It also gives patients a chance to share with others their experiences in dealing with heart conditions.
Most cases of heart failure can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle and reducing your risk for heart disease.