If you are at risk for heart failure, you might be overwhelmed with information. Here are five simple facts to help you understand the basics.
1. Heart failure is common.
About 6.2 million adults in the United States have heart failure. By 2030, that number is expected to be 8 million adults. If you have experienced heart failure, you are not alone.
2. Blood tests can diagnose and monitor heart failure.
Your primary care provider (PCP) may ask about your medical and family health history during your physical exam. If heart failure is suspected, a brain natriuretic peptide test may be ordered. This blood test measures the hormone levels released in your blood if the heart is damaged. You may then be referred to a cardiologist for further testing, depending on the results.
3. Heart failure symptoms change over time.
These are some of the common symptoms, which may not be noticeable at first but worsen over time:
• Shortness of breath while active, at rest or lying down.
• Weight gain with swelling in the legs and stomach.
• Feeling tired and weak.
• Coughing or wheezing that persists.
• Heart failure can also slowly develop from chronic medical conditions, such as:
• Irregular heartbeat.
• Coronary artery disease.
• High blood pressure.
• Severe lung diseases.
Heart failure can also occur suddenly, following a heart attack or other event.
4. Treatments for heart failure are effective.
Lifestyle changes, including reducing sodium and liquid intake and getting daily exercise, can help manage symptoms. A treatment plan can include medication, medical devices and surgeries.
5. Healthy choices can prevent or delay heart failure.
Keep your heart healthy by:
• Eating healthy foods.
• Exercising daily.
• Reducing your daily stress.
• Avoiding nicotine and alcohol.
Watson Clinic’s Cardiology team specializes in the treatment and management of heart failure and other coronary conditions. Call 863-680-7490 to schedule an appointment.
Sources: American Heart Association; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; MedlinePlus; National Institutes of Health