ArticlesFeatured Articles

Living with Heart Failure

Is it possible to lead a normal life?

Heart failure is a common disease globally, where patients face many challenges and burdens, but awareness and advanced treatments have helped reduce mortality rates and hospital admissions. Today, heart failure patients can lead a better life thanks to the available comprehensive treatments that may help them go for several years without having a relapse if they get committed to a healthy lifestyle. This led to a qualitative leap in the field of heart failure care.

The specialized cardiology centers and departments that have been expanding recently adopt a multidisciplinary principle to help improve the care of heart patients and focus not only on treatment but also on awareness, education, primary care and prevention.

These departments include a select group of specialized consultants and nursing staff that have been trained to deal with such cases. We also focus on educating the medical staff about the best methods in treating heart diseases and keeping abreast of the developments in this field in order to provide the correct treatment protocols and adopt the latest treatment technologies used globally.

Specialized cardiology clinics and departments offer special programs to provide advanced diagnosis for heart failure in line with international recommendations to put the patient on the right track for treatment through an integrated multidisciplinary approach that combines primary care and drug treatment to prevent the condition from worsening, in addition to providing awareness and education to help the patient live well with his disease.

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. When this happens, blood often backs up and fluid can build up in the lungs, causing shortness of breath. Certain heart conditions, such as narrowed arteries in the heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, gradually leave the heart too weak or stiff to fill and pump blood properly. Heart failure develops when the contracting or the relaxing action of the heart is inadequate, typically because the heart muscle is weak, stiff, or both. As a result, blood may not flow out in adequate amounts. Blood may also build up in the tissues, causing congestion. That is why heart failure is sometimes known as congestive heart failure.

If the kidneys do not get enough blood, they produce less urine, so fluid builds up in the body. This extra fluid makes your heart work harder, thus, heart failure increases, and symptoms and complications become more severe.

The most common symptoms of heart failure are breathlessness – this may occur after activity or at rest; it may be worse when lying down. Fatigue is another symptom and you may feel tired most of the time and find exercise exhausting. Swollen ankles and legs that is caused by a build-up of fluid, it may be better in the morning and get worse later in the day.

Coping with Heart Failure

Heart failure does not mean that the heart has stopped. It means that the heart cannot keep up with the work required to pump adequate blood to all parts of the body. Therefore, cardiologists assure their patients that coping with heart failure is not impossible, but it can be achieved if the patient follows some steps. Changing bad eating habits significantly increases a patient’s ability to live with heart failure.

The most important step is to stick to the treatments and doses as determined by the doctor, while having regular follow-ups, provided that the doctor determines the timeframe between check-ups according to the patient’s condition.

Managing stress is good for your health and well-being. Negative psychological health / mental health is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Maintaining a positive attitude and figuring out how to deal with stress is a very important step. Identify sources of stress in your life and look for ways to reduce and manage them. Emotional stress that goes unrecognized or untreated can raise blood pressure and exacerbate coronary artery disease, both of which worsen heart failure.

A healthy diet is fundamental as it increases the effectiveness of the treatments. If you’re overweight, losing the excess pounds will put less strain on your heart. Adopting a heart-healthy diet reduces blood vessel inflammation that often contributes to heart disease. Cutting back on salt is also key to managing cardiac problems and preventing fluid retention. 

Living with heart failure requires some health changes. Changing bad eating habits greatly increases the patient’s ability to live with his disease. A healthy eating plan lowers your risk for heart disease; avoiding saturated fats, sugar and salt protects the heart from diabetes, high blood pressure and other heart diseases. Exposure to smoke causes damage to your blood vessels, including the coronary arteries. If you smoke, it is critical to your health that you quit.

Regular, moderate exercise can improve overall cardiovascular health and reduce strain on your heart. It improves the way your body uses oxygen and has the most impact on your heart health.

The heart failure patient should have regular blood pressure readings that will help him and his doctor notice any changes and keep blood pressure at a normal level in order to prevent its negative impact on the patient’s health. 

Modern Treatments

Heart patients are the most fortunate today because of the development of treatments. There are available advanced and effective medicines that help reduce the progression of the disease and the deterioration of the condition; they also help keep symptoms under control, especially if some major lifestyle changes are made.

Today’s advanced treatments are the result of the specialized companies’ cooperation with cardiologists who are primarily concerned with dealing with patients in clinics due to their role in conveying the clinically correct picture of how to address the burden of the disease. This patient-centered approach has led to new treatment options based on a scientific approach to disease management and treatment. 

The goals of treating heart failure are to try to keep it from getting worse – lowering the risk of death and the need for hospitalization, to ease symptoms, and to improve quality of life.

Heart failure is caused by many conditions that damage the heart muscle, including conditions that overwork the heart. Conditions including high blood pressure, valve disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or heart defects present at birth can all cause heart failure. In addition, heart failure can happen when several diseases or conditions are present at once. Determining and following the appropriate treatment for the medical condition helps improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure. On the other hand, the doctor can treat the underlying cause of heart failure, such as repairing one of the heart valves or managing the rapid heart rate, which are steps that can treat heart failure.

Doctors usually treat heart failure with a combination of medications. Depending on your symptoms, you might take one or more medications, including Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that relax blood vessels to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and decrease the strain on the heart. Angiotensin II receptor blockers, Beta blockers that slow your heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Beta blockers may reduce signs and symptoms of heart failure, improve heart function, and help you live longer. In addition, doctors may prescribe diuretics that make you urinate more frequently and keep fluid from collecting in your body. They also decrease fluid in your lungs so you can breathe more easily. If you’re taking a diuretic, your doctor will likely monitor levels of potassium and magnesium in your blood through regular blood tests.

Surgery or other procedures to implant cardiac devices may be recommended to treat the underlying problem that led to heart failure. Surgery or other procedures for heart failure may include heart valve repair or replacement, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), coronary bypass surgery, among others.

Related Articles

Back to top button