HEART FAILURE NOW!

Wondering what to do and how to manage your Heart failure. Heart Failure Now offers text messages, recipes , often asked questions and informative video to help you mange your heart failure.

SIGN UP TODAY

Heart Failure

Broadly speaking, heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump blood and oxygen to our organs and tissues. The heart only does two things: it pumps, and it relaxes. So any dysfunction in the pumping function or the relaxing function can result in heart failure.

cardiac-testing

It’s important to see your healthcare provider for regular checkups, and especially if you’re experiencing the potential symptoms of heart failure, which include shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue. Your doctor will determine if you have the cardinal signs and symptoms of heart failure, and if so, continue with confirmatory testing.

Tests to Diagnose Heart Failure

The simplest test to do is a blood test called natriuretic peptide (NP). Natriuretic peptides are elevated in patients with heart failure. The patient can get this test done in a lab rather than having to go to a clinic or hospital. An echocardiogram is another test that can be useful in diagnosing heart failure. It’s an ultrasound of the heart that allows physicians to measure the pumping and relaxing functions of the heart.

Once your healthcare provider makes the diagnosis of heart failure—either with natriuretic peptides or by echocardiography, the next step will be determining why you have developed heart failure. Further testing may include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). This can help your doctor diagnose heart rhythm problems and heart damage.
  • CT scan or MRI to see images of the heart.
  • Coronary angiogram. During this test, the doctor inserts a catheter into a blood vessel and injects dye to spot blockages.
  • Myocardial biopsy. Your doctor takes small pieces of the heart muscle to diagnose certain types of heart muscle diseases.

Once your healthcare team diagnoses the type and severity of your heart failure, they can work with you on a treatment plan.

Heart Failure Treatment

The earlier congestive heart failure is diagnosed, the better the outcome. There are a number of medications that work to improve the heart’s pumping function and decrease heart failure symptoms, including:

  • Beta blockers
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Diuretics
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Inotropes

doctor

A pacemaker may be an option to improve heart function, while an implantable defibrillator can correct abnormal heart rhythms. Lifestyle changes will also determine how successful your chronic heart failure treatment will be. It’s important to avoid sodium in your diet, as this leads to fluid retention. Many patients benefit from a cardiac rehabilitation program, and regular exercise is essential for all patients. If you’re overweight or obese, you’ll need to work with your healthcare team to lose weight.

With early diagnosis and the patient and healthcare team working together to manage congestive heart failure, it’s now possible to live a long, healthy and active life.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you’d like more information on heart failure.

Visit HealthChoicesFirst.com for more videos and resources on heart health.

Print this Action Plan and check off items that you want to discuss with your healthcare provider

  •   The simplest test to do is a blood test called natriuretic peptide (NP). Natriuretic peptides are elevated in patients with heart failure. The patient can get this test done in a lab rather than having to go to a clinic or hospital.
  •   An echocardiogram is another test that can be useful in diagnosing heart failure. It’s an ultrasound of the heart that allows physicians to measure the pumping and relaxing functions of the heart.
  •   Once your healthcare provider makes the diagnosis of heart failure, the next step will be determining why you have developed heart failure. Further testing may include electrocardiogram (ECG), CT scan, MRI, coronary angiogram and myocardial biopsy.
  •   There are a number of medications that work to improve the heart’s pumping function and decrease heart failure symptoms, including beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, angiotensin II receptor blockers and inotropes.
  •   Lifestyle changes will also determine how successful your chronic heart failure treatment will be. It’s important to avoid sodium in your diet, as this leads to fluid retention. Many patients benefit from a cardiac rehabilitation program, and regular exercise is essential for all patients.