Congestive heart failure can cause other organs such as your kidneys and liver to fail as well. Untreated CHF can also cause damage to your heart valves, and may lead to the development of blood clots, which increase your risk of stroke.
Not all conditions that lead to congestive heart failure can be reversed, but treatment can mitigate the symptoms of heart failure and help you to live longer. These treatments may involve lifestyle changes such as following a regular exercise program, reducing salt in your diet, managing stress, and losing weight. Treatment can also focus on reducing your risk factors for CHF, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, sleep apnea, and the overuse of alcohol.
In addition to behavioral changes, medical therapy is necessary to preserve heart function. There are different classes of medicines for the management of heart failure. Some of the cornerstone medicines are in the class of beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin receptor blockers and diuretics. The combination of these medicines needs to be tailored for each individual patient in order to achieve the best and longest lasting results.
Finally, when the heart muscle becomes very weak, different abnormal rhythms of the heart (arrhythmias) occur and the risk of sudden cardiac death increases considerably. When this occurs there is usually a need for additional medication, like an antiarrhythmic, as well as an implantation of an electronic device such as a pacemaker or defribillator in order to prevent arrythmias and sudden cardiac death.
The best way to prevent and successfully treat heart failure is to see your cardiologist regularly, and to work with him or
her to tailor your therapy. This way you can control the conditions that cause heart failure, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
“The best way to prevent and successfully treat heart failure is to see your cardiologist regularly,”