Heart Failure Treatment
Heart failure often develops as the result of coronary artery disease or high blood pressure causing the heart to function improperly. The cardiac specialists at Franciscan Health treat heart failure with diet or exercise, medication or surgery.
Comprehensive, Convenient Care for Chronic Heart Failure
Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart's muscle becomes weakened and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs. Heart failure primarily affects people who have suffered a heart attack or have high blood pressure, heart valve disease, diabetes or other conditions that weaken the heart. Heart failure does not develop overnight - it starts slowly and gets worse over time.
Common symptoms of heart failure
Many people don't even know they have heart failure because its symptoms may be subtle and are often mistaken for normal signs of aging. Common symptoms of heart failure are:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing when lying down
- Weight gain with the swelling in the legs and ankles from fluid retention
- General fatigue and weakness
Comprehensive heart failure care
At Franciscan Health, patients benefit from a team approach to patient care. A team of cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, emergency services physicians and critical care specialists evaluates patients and develops individualized treatment plans. Treatment may include changes to diet or exercise, medication, surgery and, support and social services. Each patient's care is integrated, from diagnosis to treatment to follow-up.
With early diagnosis and newer treatments, people with heart failure are able to continue enjoying their everyday activities and have a more normal life expectancy. All discharged heart failure patients receive follow-up discussions to identify problems early to the primary care physician.
Preventing heart failure
Heart failure is usually a chronic illness that may get worse over time. Keep your blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol under control as your doctor recommends. This may involve exercise, a special diet and medications. Other important treatment measures:
- Do not smoke
- Do not drink alcohol
- Reduce how much salt you eat
- Exercise as your health care provider recommends