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It is a well-known fact that, when a car engine has trouble turning, all of its components are slowed down. The same is true for a person affected by heart failure. A great number of symptoms can be felt daily when one lives with a failing heart.
The heart is a powerful muscle. From one heartbeat to the next, it pumps blood continuously to ensure that it circulates in the vessels which nourish all of the body’s organs and tissue. Blood circulation provides oxygen and nutrients which are essential to life. Following each contraction, the heart recovers its initial size to be refilled with new blood.
Heart failure is a chronic disease that occurs when the heart is weakened. There are two types of heart failure:
Thanks to an ultrasound, heart activity can be viewed to determine the “ejection fraction”; in other words, the amount of blood ejected from the heart at each heartbeat. The ejection fraction is expressed as a percentage—for individuals affected by systolic heart failure, it is lower and generally below 40%; whereas, in cases of diastolic heart failure, it is normal.
In order to confirm a diagnosis, other tests may be requested:
Heart failure does not only occur in the aging population, it affects people of all ages. The most common causes are:
There is a common thread in all of these types of heart failure—they lead to increased heart workload or a decrease of oxygen to certain areas of the heart. Treatment prevents the progression of heart failure.
Most symptoms of heart failure are manifested when the disease goes untreated or is poorly controlled. Speak to your healthcare professional if the following symptoms appear of worsen despite adequate treatment:
Patients with heart failure must follow a drug treatment. Taking medication as prescribed offers patients several benefits:
The main medications used are the following:
Do not underestimate the help that your pharmacist can provide in heart failure management. Most people suffering from this disease must take more than three medications a day, even when they feel well. In addition to giving you information about the drug treatment’s potential undesirable effects, your pharmacist can give you tips on how to take your medication regularly. Don’t hesitate to speak to him/her about the aids available to take your medication, such as dosettes and the DispillMC medication pack. Finally, always speak to your pharmacist before using over-the-counter medication, natural health products, or supplements, as some of them may worsen heart failure.
In terms of heart failure management, medication is not enough. People affected by it must make some lifestyle changes. They must also learn to recognize the signs of deterioration of the disease. Here is some advice on how to achieve this:
Heart failure management is possible when the patient and healthcare professionals work as a team. In any case, following the drug therapy and alternative measures is essential. Furthermore, it is critical that the patient be committed, as he/she is the only one that can swiftly detect any changes in his/her health status. Are you ready to take on the challenge? If so, your heart thanks you!
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