Heart failure, which makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood and can lead to shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue and swelling in the feet, arms or legs, can be caused by blockages in the blood vessels or the heart itself, congenital conditions or diseases such as rheumatic fever or diabetes.
Heart failure occurs when the weakened heart can’t pump enough blood throughout the body to keep organs healthy and functioning correctly. Treatments include medication, lifestyle changes and surgery to repair blockages in the heart vessels or remove sections of an overgrown heart muscle.
Heart failure treatment options are taken into considerations when the heart muscle becomes too weak to pump effectively, has changed dramatically in the past decade. New therapies that allow the heart to work more efficiently and target specific systems in the body have significantly improved the outlook of patients with heart failure. While many of these treatments are still on trial, they may be available to your patients in the coming years – here’s what you need to know about them right now.
Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)
Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy is a device that helps the heart beat in a coordinated pattern and can be used to treat some people with heart failure. It is implanted under the skin below your collarbone and connected by wires to two small devices implanted in your chest.
The left-ventricular lead takes electrical signals from your heart’s left ventricle and transmits them through the wires, while the right-ventricle lead takes signals from your right ventricle. A third wire connects both leads and delivers synchronized signals to each side of your heart. In addition to relieving symptoms, CRT also improves exercise tolerance, prolongs life expectancy and reduces hospitalizations in many patients.
Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs)
The Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) is an artificial heart that can help pump blood, improving the body’s ability to function. LVADs are used in patients with an advanced stage of heart failure and have already received at least one treatment option.
The LVAD is connected directly to the left ventricle through a tube or catheter. If you’re interested in getting this device implanted, speak with your doctor about whether it’s right for you. After surgery, doctors will monitor your condition closely as they wait for signs of rejection.
If it doesn’t work well enough to sustain life after four months, a replacement may need to be inserted into the patient’s chest. An infection that could arise from these devices is an infection that can be treated if detected early on.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)
If you have had a heart attack and are at risk for another, it is another heart failure treatment that can help reduce your chance of sudden death from life-threatening arrhythmia. However, if you do not need an ICD, there may be other ways to reduce your risk of sudden death from life-threatening arrhythmias.
For example, some people may need medications that lower their heart attack or stroke. People who already take these medications should continue taking them as directed.
If someone is not on medication to prevent a stroke, they should speak with their doctor about the risks of starting one. The same goes for blood pressure medication.
People who cannot control their blood pressure without drugs may consider taking blood pressure medications. In addition, patients with high cholesterol levels may need to talk to their doctors about getting treatment with drugs like statins which will help improve cholesterol levels.
Tips to Follow-
If you have been diagnosed with heart failure, the most important thing is to stay as healthy as possible.
Avoiding foods high in salt and fat can help your heart work more efficiently. Limit yourself to two alcoholic drinks per day, drink plenty of fluids (especially water), get enough rest every night, keep active and wear sunscreen daily.
All of these measures will help your heart function better on a daily basis. See your physician regularly for continued monitoring, and treatment is also essential. Your physician may prescribe medications, devices or surgery if necessary to help prevent the progression of the disease.
When it comes to taking medications, always remember not to stop taking them without consulting your doctor first because stopping suddenly could lead the condition to worsen.
A sudden change in medication dosage might be needed, so don’t make any changes without talking with your doctor first. Always tell your doctor about all other drugs you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medication and vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies, because some medicines might interact badly if taken together.
Although these new heart failure treatments may not be the cure-all, they are very promising and offer hope. The next step is waiting for more long-term studies with a larger patient population. Get in touch with the experts at Max Healthcaregroup for further guidance.
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