What is it?
Heart failure means that the heart is unable to fully perform its function. The normal function of the heart is to pump blood around in the body. In heart failure, the heart is not able anymore to move enough blood, causing a lack of blood in various organs and fluid to build up in the body. There are different forms of heart failure.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of heart failure include fatigue, shortness of breath and dizziness. The shortness of breath typically increases upon exertion and when lying down. Due to fluid buildup the feet, lower legs and abdomen may be swollen.
What to expect?
If you are diagnosed with heart failure, it is important to work closely with your doctor or health provider and to stick to the treatment plan. You can consider discussing the following subjects with your doctor:
- Do you need a stricter control of other medical conditions you may have, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol?
- Often patients with heart failure are prescribed medication they will need to use lifelong. Is this the case for you as well? What treatment options do you have?
- A healthy diet, quitting smoking and an active lifestyle can help improve overall health and well-being. Which changes can you make in your lifestyle?
- Patients with heart failure usually are managed by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, which may include a heart specialist and other doctors, as well as other allied health practitioners (e.g. nurse, physiotherapist, dietitian). Is this the case for you as well?
- Heart failure patients are followed-up regularly. How often do you need to be visiting your doctor?