The following methods work together to treat heart failure:
- Lifestyle changes
- Treating other diseases
- Preventing infections
Medications which will help your heart
The below medicines will help your heart. You should follow your doctor’s prescription.
- Beta blockers: They slow down heart rate and prevent rapid heart beat which is dangerous for your heart. They also block the action of Adrenaline and noradrenaline which are also called as fight and flight hormones. Eg: Nebivolol
- ACE inhibitors: They relax your blood vessels. Thus blood flows easily. This mechanism helps your heart pump blood easily. Eg. Enalapril
- Hydralazine with nitrate: They work similar to ACE inhibitors. Your doctor will prescribe these if ACE inhibitors are not right for you.
- Diuretics: They help your body eliminate excess water. Thus you will pass more urine. This will help you relieve symptoms like swelling in your legs and breathlessness. Eg. Furosemide
- Sacubitril valsartan: It’s a new medicine which is prescribed for severe heart failure. It is prescribed when other medicines are not effective.
- Aldosterone blockers: Spironolactone (aldactone) and eplerenone (inspra) block the activity of aldosterone, an ardenal hormone that causes sodium retention. Aldosterone blockers are prescribed to individuals who develop heart failure after a heart attack, and studies show that these drugs can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from cardiovascular diseases.
Other medications that might be prescribed include:
- Anticoagulants (blood thinners): These drugs may be prescribed if you are a heart patient with atrial fibrillation, or have any other heart related disorder where using this drug is indicated. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular, often rapid heart rate that commonly cause poor blood flow. Anticoagulants are not used to treat heart failures without the presence of atrial fibrillation.
- Cholesterol lowering drugs (statins): This is used only for those patients who have a high cholesterol level and have had a case of heart attack in the past. This class of drugs is not used to treat heart failure, but other conditions as indicated.
- Digoxin: There are some heart failure patients who might be prescribed this drug if the doctor feels it is necessary.
Eat as fresh as possible. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts will benefit your condition.
- Maintain a healthy weight: If you eat more, work out more. This will help you keep your weight in check.
- Regular exercise: Walk every day or on most of the days. You may start with as little as five minutes a day.
- Cut down on belly fat: The larger your body, the harder your heart has to work to make it function. This can lead to heart failure.
- Quit smoking: Take your doctor’s help to quit smoking.
- Limit alcohol: Keep your alcohol intake moderate.
- Cut down salt: Salt is a flavor enhancer. Few herbs can enhance the flavor to such an extent that you can forego salt.
- Avoid high altitude: This is because breathing becomes difficult at higher altitude. The oxygen level reduces at the atmosphere as the altitude increases.
- Herbal medicines: Time and again herbal medicines have proved their magic. Though, when it comes to the heart, consult your doctor before consuming any herbal or any complementary or alternative treatment method or medicines.
- Control diabetes: People with diabetes must control their blood sugar level every day. Patients should know their HbA1C level. It should be less than 7 percent and preferably less than 6.5 percent. People with elevated lipid levels (cholesterol and triglycerides) can take medications to get the bad cholesterol (LDL) below 70 optimally or at least below 100, good cholesterol (HDL) above 40 for men and 50 for women, and the triglycerides below 150.
- Avoid stress: Set realistic goals. Plan your activities in advance to avoid the last minute rush.
Treat other diseases
Certain diseases such as High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels can worsen your heart failure. Visit your doctor regularly to keep them under control.
Certain infections such as flu and pneumonia worsen your heart failure. Take vaccines to prevent them.
If medicines, healthy lifestyle changes and habits that help heart health are not helping you, your doctor may advise surgery.
Pacemaker: If your heart is not beating properly a device called a pacemaker helps your heart beat rightly. A pacemaker is a small device that’s implanted under your skin, below your collarbone. If your heart is beating slow, it will increase your heartbeat and bring it back to normal. If your ventricles or the lower two chambers of the heart are not beating together, a special type of pacemaker will help your heart beat in synchrony. If your heart beats faster than usual, a pacemaker called an ICD is implanted. It will normalize your heart rhythm.
Valve repair/replacement: There are four chambers in your heart. While atrias are the upper two chambers, ventricles are the lower two chambers. Your heart has several valves. They have specific functions. For instance, there is a valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. Pure blood reaches your left atrium from lungs. It is sent to your left ventricle when the atria contracts. When the left ventricle contracts, pure blood is supplied to your whole body. If the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle doesn't close correctly, pure blood may leak into left atrium when left ventricle contracts. This will lead to heart failure. In such cases the valve is repaired. If it can’t be repaired, the valve will need to be replaced.
Coronary angioplasty: Coronary arteries (blood vessel) supply blood to the muscles of your heart. If Coronary arteries get blocked, it will impair your heart health. This blockage can be corrected by using a small balloon. An inflated balloon will open up the blocked blood vessel. This is called as Coronary angioplasty.
Bypass surgery: If any of the blood vessels which supply your heart is blocked, it can be bypassed using a blood vessel from some other part of your body. This will restore blood flow to your heart.
Heart transplant: If surgeries can’t rectify your heart failure, transplant is advised. Here a new healthy heart is fitted in place of your diseased heart. You may need to wait till you find a suitable donor.