Heart Failure Q & A
by: Ameeta Walia, DO, FACC, FASE
What is Heart Failure?
This condition is when the heart isn’t able to pump enough blood. This generally develops over an extended period of time. The heart will grow progressively weaker and as a result, can’t pump blood as effectively as it used to. This doesn’t actually mean that the heart has completely failed to work any longer, but instead that it’s just not working as well as it once did.
What Are the Signs?
There may have many different indicators for this condition. Some of the most common of these include breathing problems, chronic fatigue, swelling in the legs and feet, more frequent urination, and weight gain.
Is There a Way to Prevent This?
There are many things that patients can do to have a healthy heart. People who suffer from chronic conditions often are associated with heart failure, including those who suffer from diabetes and people who have high blood pressure, need to closely monitor their condition. People who lose extra weight, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet can often prevent heart failure. Patients who are in a high-risk group for heart failure should see their cardiologist on a regular basis to make sure that they maintain the best heart health possible.
What is the Treatment?
For most people, the treatment for this condition begins with changes in their lifestyle. This usually includes a low-sodium diet that is low in saturated fats. Patients are generally encouraged to start a regular exercise program at least 5 times per week. In some cases, symptoms aren’t resolved with lifestyle changes and medications may be required. For example, people who suffer from edema as a result of heart failure may need to take diuretics to eliminate the extra fluid from the body.