Most of the time, if you have heart failure, you probably have another heart condition – a heart valve problem or a rhythm disorder. However, these symptoms can indicate heart failure:
- Coughing or wheezing when you are active
- Feeling out of breath when you lie down flat
- Feeling short of breath when you exercise or exert yourself
- Gaining weight rapidly
- Swelling in your hands, feet or abdomen
- Tiring easily or feeling weak after a small amount of effort
If you have any of these heart failure symptoms, especially if you have another heart condition, talk to your doctor right away. The heart specialists at Banner Health can find out if your symptoms are caused by heart failure.
If you have heart failure, your cardiologist may prescribe medicine, such as beta blockers or nitrates, to help manage your symptoms. Banner Health specialists also perform medical procedures to help your heart stay strong longer, including:
- Drug-eluting coronary stent placement
- Heart surgery to repair or replace vital structures
- LVAD placement
- Open or bypass surgery for coronary arteries
- Pacemaker and cardiac device implant
- Valve repair and replacement
A combination of treatments may work best to treat your heart failure, and your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help manage your symptoms and prevent further damage.
If you can’t have a heart transplant, you may qualify for left ventricular assist device (LVAD) placement. The LVAD works by helping your heart pump and circulate blood mechanically. This takes the pressure off your heart, so you feel less tired, have fewer symptoms and breathe easier.
We implant the LVAD into your heart and activate it by an attached controller that stays outside of your body. This treatment is only available if you have no other options to treat your heart failure.
While you can’t reverse all the damage of heart failure, you can slow it down if you adopt a healthy lifestyle. You can also prevent further weakness by taking these steps:
- Avoid alcohol abuse
- Exercise moderately to stay active
- Quit smoking
- Reduce your salt intake
- Take medications as prescribed by your doctor to control other conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic thyroid disorders
At Banner Health, we want you to live as long and healthy a life as possible. We offer education and support through our cardiac rehabilitation program, heart-healthy classes and support groups.