3 Steps to Managing Heart Failure


Heart failure is a serious condition, and usually there is no cure. Despite the facts about heart failure, many people with heart failure lead a full, enjoyable life when the condition is managed with heart failure medications and healthy lifestyle changes. 

The Centers for Disease Control states that 5.1 million people suffer from heart failure in the United States. It is the leading cause of hospitalization in people older than 65. Less than 50 percent of patients are living five years after their initial diagnosis and less than 25 percent are alive after 10 years. The prevalence of heart failure will increase by 46 percent from 2012 to 2030, based on a recent American Heart Association statement.

According to the American Heart Association, several conditions can increase your risk of heart failure. Things like coronary artery disease, past heart attacks, high blood pressure, abnormal heart valves, heart muscle disease, heart defects that were present at birth, severe lung disease, diabetes and sleep apnea can lead to heart failure. Many heart tests are available through UnityPoint Clinic to help detect and diagnose heart problems.

Heart failure develops when the muscles of the heart have weakened and are not pumping blood as well as they should. This can also cause a fluid build-up called “congestion” that can be visible as extra weight gain, coughing and increased wheezing, shortness of breath and swollen feet, legs and abdomen. The doctors at UnityPoint Clinic have three simple steps to help you manage your heart failure and live a happy and active life.

1. Medication

Heart failure can be managed with medications specific to you and your needs. Blood pressure medication causes blood vessels to relax and widen, making blood flow to the heart easier. The heart doesn’t have to work as hard when blood is easier to pump. Other medications can slow a patients heart rate and help fill the heart with more blood during each heartbeat. The only way to know if this method will work for you is to develop a personalized treatment plan with the doctors at UnityPoint Clinic. 

2. Diet

Patients suffering from heart failure should pay close attention to food labels. A reduction in salt intake can lead to a healthier life while managing heart failure symptoms. The general recommendation is to reduce sodium intake to less than 140 mg per serving of any food. Work with the doctors at UnityPoint Clinic to create a personalized treatment plan that is specific to your needs.

3. Education

The most important thing people who are suffering from heart failure can do is educate themselves. Learning about the disease and creating a treatment plan will greatly improve their lives. The symptoms of heart failure are few and far between. Signs include being easily tired, short of breath, pounding or racing heart, being weak or dizzy, swelling in feet, legs and abdomen, coughing, wheezing, bloating or feeling sick to your stomach. Many people suffer from the symptoms that can lead to heart failure. According to the American Heart Association, several factors that increase your risk of heart attack and stroke also increase your risk of heart failure. Smoking, being overweight, physical inactivity and eating food with high fat and cholesterol all influence heart failure and create an unhealthy lifestyle. UnityPoint Clinic also offers many tips on preventing heart health problems

UnityPoint Clinic offers state-of-the-art technology, comfortable facilities and a knowledgeable and caring staff. The team of cardiologists, cardiac nurses and other heart health professionals will put your needs first and coordinate anything and everything you’ll need to manage your heart failure. The wonderful UnityPoint Clinic - Cardiology team offers a variety of services and will make sure you receive the best care possible. Iowa Lutheran Hospital and Iowa Methodist Medical Center were both named Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa.

Two new heart health physicians have recently joined the UnityPoint Clinic staff and are currently taking referrals. To make your visit to the cardiology center easy, simple and stress-free, visit UnityPoint Clinic - Cardiology’s For Patients page.

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