Currently, heart failure has no cure. You'll likely have to take medicine and follow a treatment plan for the rest of your life.
Despite treatment, symptoms may get worse over time. You may not be able to do many of the things that you did before you had heart failure. However, if you take all the steps your doctor recommends, you can stay healthier longer.
Researchers also might find new treatments that can help you in the future.
Treatment can relieve your symptoms and make daily activities easier. It also can reduce the chance that you'll have to go to the hospital. Thus, it's important that you follow your treatment plan.
Certain actions can worsen your heart failure, such as:
These actions can lead to a hospital stay. If you have trouble following your diet, talk with your doctor. He or she can help arrange for a dietitian to work with you. Avoid drinking alcohol.
People who have heart failure often have other serious conditions that require ongoing treatment. If you have other serious conditions, you're likely taking medicines for them as well as for heart failure.
Taking more than one medicine raises the risk of side effects and other problems. Make sure your doctors and your pharmacist have a complete list of all of the medicines and over-the-counter products that you're taking.
Tell your doctor right away about any problems with your medicines. Also, talk with your doctor before taking any new medicine prescribed by another doctor or any new over-the-counter medicines or herbal supplements.
Try to avoid respiratory infections like the flu and pneumonia. Ask your doctor or nurse about getting flu and pneumonia vaccines.
If you have heart failure, it's important to know:
Living with heart failure may cause fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. Talk about how you feel with your health care team. Talking to a professional counselor also can help. If you're very depressed, your doctor may recommend medicines or other treatments that can improve your quality of life.
Joining a patient support group may help you adjust to living with heart failure. You can see how other people who have the same symptoms have coped with them. Talk with your doctor about local support groups or check with an area medical center.
Support from family and friends also can help relieve stress and anxiety. Let your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you.
Interested in learning more about heart disease in women? View a Storify archive of a September 28, 2012, Twitter chat on women’s heart health. The discussion includes experts from The Heart Truth®, Million Hearts™, healthfinder.gov, and the American College of Cardiology’s CardioSmart™
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Heart Failure, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
November 5, 2012
Therapy with bone marrow-derived stem cells does not improve short-term recovery after heart attack
Administering to patients stem cells derived from their own bone marrow either three or seven days after a heart attack is safe but does not improve heart function six months later, according to a clinical trial supported by the National Institutes of Health.
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.