VALLEY STREAM, NY – There are approximately six million people in the U.S. who have heart failure, which is categorized by the heart’s inability to pump enough blood to the parts of the body as needed. Here are some steps people can take to avoid heart failure or, if they already have this condition, to more effectively manage it.
Those at risk of having heart failure include people with a genetic predisposition and people who have some cardiovascular risk factors, including hypertension and diabetes, says David A. Friedman, MD, chief of heart failure services at Franklin Hospital. Some steps to avoid heart failure include having a nutritious diet, exercise and managing any pre-existing conditions such as pre-diabetes, including any associated medication adherence, he says.
The symptoms of heart failure are:
• Generalized weakness
• Increasing shortness of breath, particularly during simple activities
• Difficulty breathing while lying flat or in a slightly-inclined position
• Swelling of the legs and ankles
For those who have heart failure, getting the most exercise that you can tolerate, keeping up with your medication regimen and having a good diet are critical, Dr. Friedman says. To help people maintain their health, there are home healthcare and telemetry options.
“Telemetry monitoring of patient’s biometric data – blood pressure, pulse, weight changes, even adherence to medications – helps as a good coaching mechanism,” Dr. Friedman says. “It helps keep patients motivated and in the game. And it’s also a good opportunity to check in periodically in between doctor visits.”
It is also critical for people to make any follow-up medical appointments after a hospital stay as soon as possible.