Heart Failure

What Is Heart Failure?

When the heart pumps as it is supposed to, your cells receive the oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly. But when a person has heart failure, the heart is too weak to handle the normal workload. The heart doesn’t pump the way it should, meaning the cells don’t get the blood they need.

Our bodies initially try to compensate for the heart’s weakness—by pumping faster, or by enlarging the heart chamber so the heart can pump more blood, for example. The body even shifts blood flow away from minor organs so it can serve vital ones like the heart and brain.

The body’s ability to make these adjustments can temporarily mask heart failure. But in time, a person will experience the symptoms of heart failure, including fatigue, breathing problems, coughing or increased heart rate.

Heart failure is chronic, but people with the condition can lead full lives if they see a cardiologist and work to manage it appropriately.  

Heart Failure Treatment Options

People with heart failure have many options. First, they can make changes to their day-to-day lives, such as:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding alcohol, or drinking in moderation only
  • Managing stress
  • Eating a healthy diet 
  • Being active  

Heart failure treatment may also involve a variety of medications. A cardiologist may prescribe blood thinners to help prevent blood clots, beta blockers to lower blood pressure, and statins to reduce cholesterol levels.

If medications and lifestyle changes aren’t enough, surgery may be necessary. Surgery also may be an option if your cardiologist believes he or she can repair the cause of the condition.  

Why Parrish Medical Center

Parrish Medical Center has been nationally recognized for heart failure treatment. In fact, PMC earned The Joint Commission Disease-Specific Care Gold Seal Certification for healthcare quality in heart failure care—just one of the hospital’s Gold Seals.

In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services publicly tracks 26 care measures in four areas: heart failure, AMI (heart attack), pneumonia and surgical infection prevention. Today, PMC is meeting or exceeding the standards in all four areas.

PMC is committed to providing high-quality care for people with heart failure. We also offer a free monthly Heart Failure Support Group to help people cope with their diagnosis and live fuller, healthier lives.  


 

Patient Education Downloads

Cardiac/LowSodium/Diabetic Menu | Download PDF