Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle weakens and cannot adequately pump blood to the rest of the body. Heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped. Patients with heart failure develop the condition over time, as the heart becomes weaker and weaker. The condition is serious but also very common, affecting more than 5 million people in the United States.
If you have been diagnosed with heart failure, it is important to know you are not alone. The Heart Failure Center
is here to help you get better. We work in collaboration with you and
your primary care provider to treat your heart failure and provide the
education and support you need.
- Tiredness and fatigue with normal activities
- Feeling short-winded
- Needing extra pillows to prop yourself up to sleep
- Swelling in feet and ankles
- Coughing frothy phlegm
Someone with heart failure may exhibit one or all of these symptoms, or maybe none at all. It depends on the person’s overall heart health and whether the heart is in a weakened state.
If you think that you or a loved one is experiencing heart failure, call a doctor immediately. Heart failure can be diagnosed with tests that include:
- Stress test
- Blood test
Your doctor may also recommend a cardiac catheterization to determine why the heart muscle is weak.
- High blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease/heart attack
- Toxicity (alcohol or drug-induced)
- Stress reaction
- Family history
If you have heart failure, you are at risk for developing:
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Anemia (low blood count)
- Blood clots
Several medications are used to treat heart failure. It is important to take medications as prescribed and order your
refills in a timely manner. If you have symptoms, we can often evaluate
you urgently and determine if you need intravenous medications to
prevent fluid buildup. Visit the American Heart Association for more information about these medications and how they can help:
- Beta blockers
- Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEs)
- Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
- Aldosterone receptor antagonists
Other treatments for heart failure include lifestyle changes like reducing salt intake and controlling other related conditions such as sleep apnea, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.