Congestive Heart Failure Treatment

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A range of options are available for congestive heart failure treatment, including surgery, medications and changes in lifestyle.

The cardiac surgeon may recommend a minimal invasive heart procedure, such as a coronary bypass that corrects severely narrowed arteries. Alternatively they may perform a valve repair or replacement procedure. Another method is a ‘myectomy’ which involves removing a section of the overgrown heart muscle to relieve the stress on the heart’s function. In very severe cases the congestive heart patient may require a heart transplant.

Medication is an integral part of congestive heart failure treatment. The medicines work to relieve the symptoms and improve the quality of life for congestive heart patients. Prescriptions will improve the blood circulation, act as blood thinners to prevent blood clots and also lower the blood pressure.

Probably the most important facet of congestive heart failure treatment is changes in lifestyle. To begin with, salt intake needs to be strictly controlled. The sodium in salt is known to cause accumulation of fluids in the body tissues, including organs such as the heart and lungs. A person with congestive heart disease should consume no more than 2 grams (2,000 milligrams) of salt per day. Food should be cooked without salt and make sure you carefully read the labels on packaged food items.

Moderate exercise is beneficial for congestive heart patients, even though historically people were discouraged from great exertion. Different people have different degrees of limitation and when exercise is tailored to the individual, it appears to improve their tolerance levels. For congestive heart patients at a stable level, exercise has been shown to improve their overall body function and the quality of their life.

Congestive heart conditions tend to be linked with other illness. Addressing the secondary cardio-vascular ailment can offer alternative methods of treating congestive heart conditions. If congestive heart failure is linked to hypertension, strict control of blood pressure will improve the illness. When the congestive heart failure is due to restricted blood flow in the heart muscle, procedures such as angioplasty, intracoronary stenting and other types of coronary heart operations can be used as treatment. Congestive heart patients with valve problems can benefit from valve implant surgery. A long history of alcohol abuse can weaken the heart muscles. Consequently, reducing one’s alcohol intake – or eliminating it all together – can lead to great improvements in the congestive heart condition.

Drinking excess liquids sometimes causes fluid retention in the tissues which impairs proper heart function. In severe cases of fluid retention the person may be advised by their physician to reduce their liquid intake down to 2 quarts a day. Signs of fluid retention include the swelling of tissues (edema), shortness of breath, and sudden increase in body weight over a short period of time. By carefully monitoring weight changes, fluid accumulation can be prevented in the early stages.

Doctors may use congestive heart failure treatments that address underlying illness that aggravate the heart condition. Underlying problems include blocked arteries, fast heart rhythm, thyroid disease, anemia, sleep apnea and certain other blood abnormalities.