Heart Failure

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Last Medical Review: March 26, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr. David Costa Navarro
Heart Failure (March 26, 2020)

What is that

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart, due to a disease that has affected it, is unable to pump blood efficiently to other parts of the body. This causes blood to tend to remain in other organs, such as the lung and liver. The reduced functioning of the kidney causes the amount of water and the salts eliminated with urine to be reduced.

How it manifests itself

Heart failure manifests itself with labored breathing, even after modest effort, easy fatigue and muscle weakness, coughing, swelling of the ankles, fast or irregular heart rhythm, intolerance to cold.

What are the risks

Heart failure is a serious disease that needs to be treated properly. Every patient must follow the treatment prescribed by the doctor on a regular basis, remembering that a worsening of the disease can quickly lead to life-threatening situations.

What should be done

  • Take the medications prescribed by your doctor exactly as directed. If symptoms appear during treatment that you think are attributable to the medications, contact your doctor.
  • Weigh yourself daily at the same time of day and mark your weight in a notebook. Bring this notebook when you go to the doctor for a visit.
  • Avoid foods containing a high amount of salt (sodium chloride) (cured meats, cooking nut, pickles, french fries, smoked fish and in general, preserved foods). Use the minimum amount of salt, trying to eliminate it completely (read the Low sodium diet sheet in this regard).
  • Some antacids (heartburn medications), especially sodium bicarbonate, contain high amounts of sodium and are not suitable for those suffering from heart failure. If it is necessary to use an antacid it is good to ask the doctor which is the most suitable for you.
  • Do not smoke: when you are suffering from heart failure it is essential to stop smoking.
  • Get regular rest. Do not make physical efforts. Physical activity should be increased with great caution as you feel better, always avoiding sudden or too intense efforts.
  • In case of ankle swelling it is useful to keep your feet up when you lie down. If you breathe hard when you are in bed, keep your head raised with the help of some pillows.

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