Fortunately, heart failure can be treated. Getting good medical care, following doctor's orders and learning about hear failure will help you lead a comfortable life.
You can help by taking your medicine as your doctor tells you, and by following your eating and exercise plans.
What medicine might I take?
The goal of heart failure treatment is to help you live a longer, better-quality life. Treating the causes of heart failure with medication can lessen tiredness (fatigue), shortness of breath and swelling. It also helps improve your energy level so you can be physically active.
Here are some examples of medicines that may be prescribed:
- Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitor—lowers blood pressure and decreased the hearts workload.
- Angiotensin Receptor Blocker (ARB)—lowers blood pressure.
- Diuretic—helps your body get rid of extra water and sodium.
- Beta-blocker—lowers blood pressure and slows heart rate.
- Digoxin—helps your heart pump better.
- Vasodilator—lowers blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and allowing them to open (dilate).
Tell you doctor right away if...
- You gain 3 or more pounds in a day or so.
- You see that your feet, ankles or other parts of your body are puffy.
- It's hard to breathe.
- You can't do what you could do the day before.
- You have "the flu."
- You get a fever.
- You have chest pain.
- Coughing up pinkish, blood-tinged mucus.
- Confusion, difficulty thinking, dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Changes in your eating habits or appetite.
- Visit the doctor and follow his or her advice.
- Read food labels and avoid foods high in salt or sodium.
- Start an aerobic exercise plan as you doctor advises.
- Keep up your interests and be upbeat!
Ask your doctor to fill in the blanks with recommendations that will hep you recover.
How can I learn more?
- Talk to you doctor, nurse or other healthcare professionals. If you have heart disease or have had a stroke, members of you family also may be at a higher risk. It's very important for them to make changes now to lower their risk.
- Call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-242-8721), or visit heart.org to learn more about heart disease.
- For information on stroke, call 1-888-4-STROKE (1-888-478-7653), or visit us online at StrokeAssociation.org.
We have many other fact sheets and educational booklets to help you make healthier choices to reduce your risk, manage disease or care for a loved one. Visit heart.org/answersbyheart to learn more.
Knowledge is power, so Learn and Live!
Do you have questions or comments for your doctor or nurse?
Take a few minutes to write your own questions for the next time you see your healthcare provider. For example:
How can my family help me?
Should I stay in bed?
©2012, American Heart Association