If you have heart failure, you have a lot of choices for treatment, but for the majority of patients, it is a case of keeping the symptoms under control – as it is a chronic condition which can be treated. The treatments available help to control symptoms leading many people to live full and active lives.
There are many different causes of heart failure, so what your doctor advises is completely dependent on the specific patient. However, we have put together a list of some of the more common treatment options for heart failure.
Healthy lifestyle changes
One of the most common treatments for heart failure is the patient living a healthier lifestyle, opting to exercise more frequently and eat better. This can help to improve your heart failure symptoms as well as your overall health, which is why doctors recommend it so much.
When it comes to eating better, it is important to avoid things high in salt and fat. Wherever possible, look for no added salt and sugar versions of your favourite foods. It is often recommended to get into the habit of avoiding processed foods completely and cooking everything from scratch.
Exercise is also very beneficial for those with heart failure, helping to strengthen the heart itself and your body. Patients are often offered an exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation programme by their doctor, usually ran by teams that include nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and exercise specialists in hospitals or community clinics.
Another one of the common treatment methods for heart failure is being prescribed multiple medications, which each treat specific symptoms or contributing factors of the condition. These completely depend on the specific patient and what they are suffering with, helping them to live for longer and reduce their chances of suffering. A combination of medicines is often used to manage the condition and help the patient feel better. This is called triple therapy and includes ACE Inhibitors or ARB’s, Beta Blockers and MRA’s like Spironolactone and Epelerone.
As an example, ACE inhibitors are often prescribed to patients as they reduce the amount of heart-damaging hormones your body produces, as well as to lessen the workload of your heart by reducing the blood pressure. Beta blockers are also common, helping to lower the heart rate and blood pressure, protecting the heart from further damage.
Surgery and medical devices
If required, doctors often recommend surgeries which are designed to improve the overall quality of life and length of life for the patient. They can also help to deal with any underlying problems that could be occurring, such as blocked arteries – which can be helped with a procedure called a coronary bypass surgery. This is where blood vessels from your leg, arm or chest bypass a blocked artery in your heart to allow blood to flow through your heart more freely.
On the other hand, medical devices can also be inserted to help – such as ICDs, CRT-P and CRT-D. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators are similar to pacemakers, inserted under the skin in the chest with wires leading through the veins and into the heart. If the heart starts beating at a dangerous rhythm, the ICD tries to pace your heart or shock it back into normal rhythm – also helping to speed your heart up if it is beating too slowly. CRT therapy also helps to resynchronize the heart so that it pumps more effectively.
About Pumping Marvellous
As a heart failure patient-led charity based in the heart of the UK, we provide sufferers of heart failure with support, as well as their carers and family. We have been helping to improve care, along with the overall awareness of the disease, helping individuals to self-manage their heart failure through coaching and developing.
If you would like to find out some more information regarding the work we do as a charity, you are more than welcome to fill out the contact form on our website, where a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible. To understand more about how to donate, to help us to fund our help to patients and help them live fuller lives, you can take a look at our donation page.