Heart Failure

How Do I Manage Heart Failure?

Here’s what you need to know with heart failure: There is hope. As serious as heart failure is, it can be managed with the right treatment and lifestyle changes. The best news is we can help.

At Banner Health, our heart specialists treat heart failure with medication and a variety of medical and surgical procedures. We also work with you to adopt lifestyle changes so you can better manage your condition and improve your heart health.

Are There Long-Term Solutions for My Heart Failure?

Heart failure leaves your heart muscle weak and damaged, and it cannot pump blood as efficiently as before. Congestive heart failure, or cardiomyopathy, is a chronic condition, but it can be managed successfully.

Our goal is to lighten your heart's workload to prevent further damage and, if possible, improve your heart function. We combine prevention, diagnostics and treatment options to help keep your heart pumping as strong as possible.

We also offer destination therapy. This therapy helps circulate blood during end-stage heart failure when you are not a good candidate for a heart transplant.

What are the Symptoms of Heart Failure?

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.


How Is Heart Failure Treated?

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.


What If I Can’t Have a Heart Transplant?

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.

How Can I Prevent Further Heart Damage?

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.

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