Congestive heart failure is one of the most common conditions. And it’s due to having a decreased perfusion of blood to your body. It’s caused by various conditions, most commonly ischemic heart disease, or decreased blood flow to your heart, as well as alcohol, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, certain rare infections and autoimmune conditions as well. There are many diagnostic tools such as electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, which is the ultrasound of your heart, as well as laboratory studies that can tell the function of your heart as well. And there’s lots of treatments that are targeted at heart failure. Various medications, such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, Spironolactone, Interesto, as well as diuretics or water pills, such as Lasix. These can help manage your symptoms as well as decrease your overall mortality in general. Lastly, if medications fail, you can use an LVAD or a ventricular assist device known also as an artificial heart, as a bridge to a potential transplant.
And while transplant is rare, it is still a possibility in a group of patients as well. After transplant it’s important to know that you’d be on immunosuppression, which would increase your risk of infections. And it’s a lifelong treatment thereafter. It’s important to know that after your diagnosis of heart failure, it’s very important to take your medications, discuss with your primary care doctor, your cardiologist, how to adjust these medications and to follow up regularly with your doctors. It’s also important to note all the risk factors that you have, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, for example, or smoking, and modify these risk factors as well in order to decrease the chances of you experiencing symptoms and to decrease your risk of re-hospitalization.