If you have heart failure, you're not alone. About 6 million Americans are currently living with it. In fact, it's one of the most common reasons people age 65 and older go into the hospital. It can take years for heart failure to develop. Heart failure symptoms usually develop over time as your heart becomes weaker and less able to pump the blood that your body needs. Heart failure usually results in an enlarged heart (left ventricle). Heart failure is a serious long-term (chronic) condition. But you can live a full, active life with the right medical treatment and attention to your lifestyle. © AHA
This disease is caused by a weakening of the heart muscle. It primarily affects the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber. In a heart with dilated cardiomyopathy, the diseased muscle fibers have stretched and the chamber has enlarged to make up for its lost pumping power. A heart affected by dilated cardiomyopathy has difficulty supplying enough blood flow to meet the body's needs. This can result in heart failure.
Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, has several symptoms including shortness of breath, fluid buildup (edema) and fatigue. If you have been diagnosed with heart failure, it's important for you to manage and keep track of symptoms and report any sudden changes to your healthcare team.
About 6 million Americans are currently living with heart failure. In fact, it's one of the most common reasons people 65 and older go into the hospital. Heart failure is a long-term (chronic) condition, but it can be treated. Getting good medical care and following your treatment plan will help you have the best quality of life. You can help by taking your medications as prescribed and following your eating and exercise plans. © AHA
Heart failure can happen in two ways. The heart muscle may become weak and enlarged (systolic dysfunction). The weakened muscle doesn't pump enough blood forward when the ventricles contract. Or, the heart muscle may become stiff (diastolic dysfunction). The stiff muscle can't relax between contractions, which keeps the ventricles from filling with enough blood.
Medications can help you to both feel better and stay as healthy as you can. Take your medications exactly as instructed. Never stop taking medications or change dosage unless told to by your doctor, even if you feel better. Here are some capsule definitions of medications that might be prescribed.
The heart is a muscle that pumps oxygen-rich blood to all parts of the body. When you have heart failure, the heart is not able to pump as well as it should. Symptoms of heart failure can be controlled by changes in your lifestyle and by following your doctor's advice. Symptoms of heart failure can be controlled by lifestyle changes and by following your doctor's advice.
Being active doesn't mean that you have to wear yourself out. Even a little movement each day helps to strengthen your heart. If you can't get out to exercise, you can do simple stretching and strengthening exercises at home. Read on for helpful tips to be a bit more active.