CHF treatment

Congestive heart failure (CHF) cannot actually be cured however there are various forms of treatment that can often relieve the symptoms and will dramatically improve your quality of life. Treatment can include specific medications, a change in diet and lifestyle, and there is also specialized care for those who are suffering from the advanced stages of congestive heart failure. The majority of treatments are aimed at slowing down how fast the condition progresses and, therefore, this may be able to prolong someone’s life. Due to there being numerous causes of congestive heart failure, your doctor will only recommend a treatment based on your individual circumstances.

The main goals when treating CHF are to specifically treat the underlying causes of heart failure, stopping your heart failure from getting any worse, improving your overall symptoms and therefore your quality of life and aiming to prolong your life span. Congestive heart failure can often be caused by certain underlying diseases or conditions such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. These conditions will continue to be treated, even after they have led to CHF.

One of the first things a doctor will recommend is certain lifestyle changes which include:-

  • Limiting the amount of fluids that you drink
  • Ensuring that your diet is low in salt, as salt is known to cause extra fluid build up inside your body, which can actually make heart failure far worse
  • Ensure that you weigh yourself every day, as a sudden weight gain could be a sign that you have extra, and unwanted, fluid building up inside you
  • You should also look to improve upon your fitness levels and abilities and therefore you will be required to be more active and take more exercise
  • You should look to limit the amount of alcohol that you drink and if you are a smoker, aim to quit smoking
  • If you are overweight, you should look to lose weight

Your doctor is also likely to prescribe certain medication that can help to improve your heart functions and the specific symptoms of CHF.

  • Diuretics, which are water or fluid pills, will help to reduce any specific build up in your lungs. They can also help to reduce any swelling you may be suffering from in your feet and ankles.
  • ACE inhibitors are mainly prescribed to lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is known to put extreme strain on your heart, and therefore this type of medication may also help to reduce the risk of a heart attack in the future. There are numerous ACE inhibitors and these include ramipril, quinapril, captopril, fosinopril, lisinpril and enalapril.

Your doctor may also prescribed angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) which are, once again, known to lower blood pressure which can help to improve the overall efficiency of your heart. ARBs include Valsartan and Candesartan.

  • Beta-blockers will, yet again, lower your blood pressure and also slow down your heart rate. Beta-blockers such as carvedilol are aimed at decreasing the overall workload on your heart.
  • Digoxin may also be prescribed as this allows your heart to be stronger and pump more blood around your body.

You will find that lifestyle changes and medication may not be enough as this disease progresses and your symptoms become worse. If you suffer from severe heart failure, you may need to visit hospital on a regular basis. This will then typically involve being prescribed new medication, in addition to your current medicines. If you find that breathing is becoming more difficult, your doctor may also order extra oxygen for you to either take in hospital or home.

Many people who suffer from extremely severe heart failure may require a heart transplant or a mechanical heart pump. A heart pump is just like it sounds. This will require a special device to be placed inside your body which will allow you to pump blood throughout the rest of the body. There are numerous types of heart pump and some are only required for a short period time, while others are needed for much longer. A heart transplant is a form of surgery that will replace the heart of a patient with heart failure, with a healthy heart from someone who was recently died. A heart transplant is typically a last resort and will usually only ever be considered if all other treatments have failed to control a patient’s symptoms.

It is important that if you are suffering from congestive heart failure that you immediately seek medical assistance and possible treatment. No matter how serious this condition sounds, mild or moderate congestive heart failure can easily be treated and as long as you have proper medical supervision this can prevent any potential complications or problems occurring further down the line.

Last updated on Nov 18th, 2010 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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