Congestive heart failure is a serious heart condition where the heart cannot pump the required amount of blood needed for the body’s circulatory system. Prevention is the most important step for congestive heart failure, and this can be achieved through a healthy diet and lifestyle. If the usual methods do not work, there are alternatives available to treat congestive heart failure or to get relief from symptoms.
Congestive heart failure is often referred to simply as heart failure. In this condition, fluid builds up around the heart, making it difficult for blood to be pumped efficiently.
When this happens, the blood and fluids back up inside other organs, such as the lungs, liver, and those in the lower body and abdomen.
You should immediately seek treatment from your doctor for congestive heart failure. There are also dietary supplements that can help with it. Be careful with certain medicines, however, as they are known to react with other medications you may be taking for your heart failure. It is recommended that these supplements always be taken under the supervision of your cardiologist or heart specialist.
Below is a list of some supplements that may help with congestive heart failure:
- Creatine: Creatine supplements are generally used by athletes to increase their high-intensity performance. For congestive heart failure patients, they can have positive results on their condition. When injected, creatine supplements improve heart function as well as increase one’s threshold for exercise, meaning you will be able to exercise more and feel less tired. Oral creatine supplements will improve your muscle function and stamina as well.
- Magnesium: Studies have shown that during heart failure, patients undergo excessive urinary magnesium loss. Magnesium is necessary for heart health; it supports a regular heartbeat rhythm. A disturbance in rhythm is indicative of the heart beating irregularly, faster, or slower than usual. All three states are dangerous and could lead to congestive heart failure. People who have heart failure are at risk of developing irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia, but magnesium helps combat this.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance found throughout the body. Many people use CoQ10 to treat heart and blood vessel conditions, such as congestive heart failure, chest pain (angina), high blood pressure, and other heart-related problems.
- Coenzyme Q10 levels may be low in people with heart failure. CoQ10 reduces swelling in the legs and fluid accumulation in the lungs, thus enhancing one’s breathing. It also boosts one’s exercise capacity.
- Carnitine: Carnitine is an amino acid derivative and nutrient involved in lipid metabolism in mammals. Carnitine supplements reduce your chances of heart failure after a heart attack, as well as boost your exercise capacity. The nutrient converts fatty acids into energy, which is used by the muscles.
- Thiamine: Low levels of thiamine are linked to developing heart failure. Thus, addressing this deficiency is essential for treating congestive heart failure or preventing it.
- Soy protein: Soy protein also helps with congestive heart failure. Soy improves your total cholesterol levels by 5–9% and lowers bad cholesterol by 13%. Higher-than-normal levels of cholesterol is one reason for heart failure. Soy works by lowering the absorption of cholesterol. Try to incorporate soy into your diet by substituting it for animal fats, or switch to soy milk. A single cup of soy milk contains five to ten grams of protein.
- Fenugreek: Fenugreek also improves cholesterol as well as blood sugar levels. Lightly spice your meals with fenugreek to incorporate it into your diet.
- Gugulipid/Guggul gum: Gugulipid or Guggul gum significantly lowers cholesterol levels. The recommended dosage is 75 mg/day.
- Cholestin: Cholestin is a supplement that lowers cholesterol levels. It is made of red yeast, which is grown on fermented rice.
- Amino acids: A few amino acids have been found to be useful in treating heart failure. Amino acids come together to form proteins, which are the building blocks of the body. Taurine and Arginine are some effective amino acids, and they can be taken as supplements.Taurine helps the heart muscles contract properly. An improper muscle contraction is one of the reasons for heart failure; if your muscles do not contract well, your heart is not able to pump the required amount of blood to the body.Arginine ensures smooth blood flow. It helps you produce Nitric oxide, which helps your blood flow.
Certain herbs have also been known to boost heart function, including:
- Berberine: Berberine helps blood flow by dilating the blood vessels. Consuming berberine for eight weeks has been found to improve heart function, as well as boost one’s capacity to exercise. It improves overall quality of life, especially when used along with allopathic medicines prescribed by the doctor.
- Hawthorn: Hawthorn has many health benefits. It improves breathing and the heart’s ability to pump blood, lessens fatigue, helps with shortness of breath and chest pain, and increases your ability to exercise. It also affects blood pressure, the pressure at which your blood flows. High pressure harms your health in many ways. Hawthorn works to lower high blood pressure. The herb also inhibits atherosclerosis, a process wherein bad cholesterol is deposited in the blood vessels. This makes them congested, which in turn results in compromised blood flow and heart failure. Hawthorn can be taken in the form of a liquid or as a dry extract.
Congestive heart failure is divided into four main stages:
Stage 1: In this stage, a person does not experience any symptoms while doing simple physical activity in everyday life.
Stage 2: In this stage, a person is comfortable when taking a rest, but feels problems like fatigue, shortness of breath, and palpitations while doing any physical activity.
Stage 3: In this stage, also, a person is comfortable while resting, but the problems present in stage two arise even while doing mild exercises.
Stage 4: This is the most serious stage, as a person is not able to perform any type of physical activity or even rest without experiencing symptoms.
Different types of treatments are available for each stage:
- Stage one congestive heart failure can be easily managed by simply making some lifestyle changes, taking heart medications, and monitoring the condition.
- In stage two, as well, simple lifestyle changes, like stopping alcohol consumption and avoiding smoking, can help. Also, the same heart medications and more careful monitoring can help a person cope.
- Stage three is a crucial stage of congestive heart failure and may require complicated treatment. At this stage, the doctor’s prescriptions have to be followed strictly.
- Instage four congestive heart failure, there is no cure available. However, a person can still discuss the potential risks and benefits of certain treatments with the doctor.
It is often very difficult for someone to judge when to visit the doctor for treatment of congestive heart failure. There are some symptoms, however, that signal the need for a doctor’s visit. These symptoms are:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Weight gain
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
- Increased need to urinate, especially at night
As soon as these symptoms appear, one must visit the doctor as soon as possible to start proper treatment.
Treatment for Congestive Heart Failure
Once congestive heart failure has been diagnosed, doctors will start treatment. Treatment varies from doctor to doctor, as different doctors prefer different treatments for patients.
Some of the most common ways of treating congestive heart failure are:
- Congestive heart failure drugs: Many congestive heart failure drugs are available to help patients recover from this problem. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors help open up the blood vessels and thus improve the flow of blood in the body. Diuretics are also prescribed by doctors, because they reduce the excessive fluid content in the body caused by congestive heart failure. There are several types of medications prescribed by doctors to help patients recover from congestive heart failure, some of which include:
These drugs are some of the most commonly prescribed by doctors, although different doctors will prescribe different medications according to the patient’s condition.
- Surgery: Doctors will first prescribe medications to help deal with congestive heart failure, but if none of them prove to be effective, the only option left is surgery. One such procedure is an angioplasty. In this surgery, the blocked arteries are opened up to increase blood flow. A cardiologist may also suggest heart valve repair surgery. The cardiologists’ aim with this procedure is to cure the valve problem to allow for proper opening and closing of the heart valves.
Remember to listen to your doctor’s advice before starting any of the aforementioned supplements or alternative treatments.