Congestive heart failure treatment in Middle Tennessee
At TriStar Medical Group, we provide comprehensive, individualized treatment for patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) in the Greater Nashville, Tennessee, area. If you have been diagnosed with CHF or are at high risk for developing CHF, our medical providers are able to design a care plan to constantly monitor your heart and keep your condition from worsening.
For more information about our heart failure services, please call (800) 242-5662.
What is heart failure?
Heart failure prevents the heart from pumping blood efficiently to the rest of the body. It is usually caused by damage from conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, structural heart defects and heart attacks.
Your heart will work harder to overcompensate for the defect, but eventually, it won't be able to properly pump blood to the rest of your body. When the muscle is too thick, the heart can't relax and fills with blood resulting in diastolic heart failure. Eventually, the heart will become too weak to squeeze properly and systolic heart failure occurs. Because the heart's pumping ability decreases, blood backs up in the veins and leads to fluid buildup in the lungs and other parts of the body, called CHF.
Unfortunately, the condition worsens with time, making aggressive treatment and constant management necessary. Through non-invasive monitoring, our specialists in cardiac care can easily track your progress and address problems before they cause complications.
Heart failure symptoms
Heart failure symptoms vary from person to person. Common symptoms include:
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Shortness of breath whether exerting yourself or lying down
- Swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles and feet
Heart failure treatment
Because of the damage that has accumulated over time, there is no cure for heart failure. However, you can address your symptoms and dramatically improve your quality of life. Treatment can include lifestyle changes, medications or surgery.
Your doctor may recommend the following lifestyle changes to slow heart failure progression:
- Avoid or limit alcohol consumption to one drink two or three times a week
- Avoid or limit caffeine
- Eat a low-fat, low-sodium diet
- Lose weight
- Quit smoking
- Reduce stress
- Keep track of symptoms and report any changes to your physician
- See your physician regularly
Heart failure medications
Depending on your condition, medication can help manage your symptoms. Some medicines can help strengthen the heart muscle's pumping action or expand the blood vessels to improve circulation. Your cardiologist may also prescribe other medications to reduce the amount of water and sodium in the body to reduce the heart's workload. It is very important to keep track of your medications and follow your doctor's instructions closely.
While there is no cure for heart failure, surgery can help improve your symptoms or prevent further damage to your heart. Coronary artery bypass surgery is sometimes recommended if your heart is severely damaged and has lost the majority of its pumping ability. During this surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged areas of scar tissue to help your heart pump more efficiently.
If you require heart surgery, your cardiologist will discuss all your options and connect you to an expert cardiovascular surgeon.
Tips for living with heart failure
Even though you may need to make certain adjustments, you can still live a happy life with heart failure. Use these tips, along with your doctor's recommendations, for optimal heart health:
- Don't smoke.
- Research your condition. Understanding heart failure is the first step to managing it and taking control of your health.
- Monitor your blood pressure, pulse and weight. Know your ideal weight, and notify your doctor whenever body weight changes by more than 5 pounds between visits.
- Keep a current medication list in your wallet or purse for emergency situations. Include information about any blood thinners you may be taking and any artificial implants, valves, pacemakers or defibrillators that you have. Also, note your diagnosis and your doctor's telephone number.
- Know what you need to do to travel and go on vacation. With careful planning, many patients with heart failure can enjoy traveling.
- Never stop taking prescribed medication without talking to your doctor. It is important for patients with heart failure to understand that their blood pressure needs to be lower than that of a person without heart failure.
- Ask your physician about how much alcohol you are allowed to drink. Some patients can have a small amount and others can have none.
- Ask your doctor about getting the flu or pneumonia shot. These can be important in preventing or lessening the effects of the disease.