Heart Failure

Heart Failure: Putting It All Together

Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to heart failure.

  • Heart failure does not mean that the heart has failed. It simply means that the heart is not pumping as powerfully as it used to.
  • Symptoms of heart failure may include fatigue, shortness of breath (especially when lying down), and swelling of the ankles. These symptoms occur because heart failure causes the body to retain fluid.
  • If your doctor prescribes medication for your heart failure, it is absolutely essential to take it every day, even if your symptoms disappear. If you stop the medication, the symptoms will likely reappear.
  • There are various types of medications for heart failure. They work by removing excess fluid from the body, strengthening the heart’s pumping action, and widening blood vessels to help reduce the workload on the heart.
  • You also may need to make some changes in your diet, such as cutting down on salt, eating more fruits and vegetables, and limiting fats.
  • Get as much exercise as your doctor allows. But don’t overexert yourself.
  • Keep in close touch with your medical team. Tell them at once about any changes in your condition and any problems with medication.
  • Work with your doctor and health care team to get your life as normal and comfortable as possible.

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