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Living with Chronic Heart Failure

While ‘failure’ is actually an inaccurate description, it is the commonly used reference to a condition of the heart such that the heart doesn’t pump blood around the body as well as it should. This means that your blood can’t deliver enough oxygen and nourishment to your body to allow it to work normally.

If you have the condition, it may mean a new lifestyle and a new way of thinking. It means living with a serious, chronic disease. Heart failure can get worse if it’s not treated. It’s very important to do what your doctor tells you to do. When you make health changes, you can feel a lot better and enjoy life that much more.

At Riverside Medical Clinic, we have established a Chronic Heart Failure Clinic (CHF Clinic) specially designed to address your condition and to assist you in improving your quality of life. Our CHF team follows up with CHF patients to answer questions and assist in scheduling visits.

Signs of Heart Failure

Some of the signs of heart failure are:
Shortness of breath, especially when lying down
Tired, run-down feeling
Coughing or wheezing, especially when you exercise or lie down
Swelling in feet, ankles and legs
Weight gain from fluid buildup
Confusion or can’t think clearly

Things to Watch Out For if You Have Chronic Heart Failure

Let your doctor know right away if:
You gain three or more pounds in a day or so
You see swelling in your feet, ankles or other part of your body
It’s hard to breathe
You can’t do what you could do the day before
You have “the flu”
You get a fever
You have chest pain
Coughing up pinkish, blood-tinged mucus
Confusion, difficulty thinking, dizziness or lightheadedness
Changes in your eating habits or appetite

Medicines that May Be Prescribed

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitor – lowers blood pressure and decreases the heart’s workload.
Angiotensin Receptor Blocker (ARB) – lowers blood pressure
Diuretic – helps your body get rid of extra water and sodium
Angiotensin-Receptor Neprilysin Inhibitor (ARNI) – improves artery opening and blood flow, reduces sodium retention, and decreases strain on the heart
Beta-Blocker – lowers blood pressure and slows heart rate
Digoxin – helps your heart pump better
Vasodilator – lowers blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and allowing them to open

Chronic heart failure can be treated. Getting good medical care, following your doctor’s orders and learning about heart failure will help you lead a comfortable life. And we are here for you. Feel free to call our CHF Clinic at 951.321.6450.