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If you’re diagnosed with heart failure, it doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped working altogether. It means that your heart is not working as well as it should be. But there are several first-line treatments for heart failure that can get you back on the path to good health.
Heart failure treatments can vary depending on the type of heart failure you’re diagnosed with. Heart failure often gets worse over time, but this is not a reason for despair. You should use your diagnosis to motivate yourself to do all that you can to maintain your heart health.
So, let’s take a look at some of the first-line treatments for heart failure that your doctor may prescribe.
It is important to consult with your cardiologist before making any lifestyle changes. By following the advice of your doctor, you may be able to manage your heart failure and avoid medications and/or surgery. Your doctor may ask you to:
Making lifestyle changes may be easier than you think and they can go a long way to keeping your heart healthy.
Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program that includes exercise training, education on heart-healthy living, and in many cases, counseling to reduce stress. It can help you to recover and improve physical, mental and social function.
The goal is to stabilize, slow or even reverse the progression of your heart failure. This can help decrease your risk of heart disease or death.
According to the American Heart Association, a cardiac rehab program typically provides:
Everyone is different, so what’s right for someone else, may not be right for you. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor to come up with a plan that suits your needs.
There are medications that you can take to slow or even reverse heart failure. But if you’re diagnosed with heart failure and decide to go down this road, understand that you may need to take more than one medication to treat this condition.
There are some drugs that can keep heart failure from getting worse. Other drugs may lessen the effects of the symptoms so the patient can feel better. These medications include:
Each comes with its own list of side effects, so be sure to talk to your doctor about the potential risks.
Bypass surgery or angioplasty is used to open clogged arteries. Other surgery for heart failure may be done to repair a valve or replace it with a new one. Some patients will need to have surgery to implant a device such as a pacemaker or a defibrillator.
You should not attempt to treat heart failure on your own. The lifestyle changes mentioned above may be used in concert with other procedures or medications. Talk to your doctor about your options.
An easy way to find out how healthy your heart is is to get one of the many minimally-invasive tests that are available. Our guide “Cardiology Tests That Keep Hearts Healthy” provides information on them, including one test that can predict your risk for having a heart attack over the next 10 years.