is one of the most serious symptoms of heart disease. The outlook for
an individual patient depends on the patient's age, severity of heart
failure, overall health, and a number of other factors.
As heart failure progresses, the
effects can become quite severe, and patients often lose the ability
to perform even modest physical activity. Eventually, the heart's
reduced pumping capacity may interfere with routine functions, and
patients may become unable to care for themselves. The loss in
functional ability can occur quickly if the heart is further weakened
by heart attacks or the worsening of other conditions that affect
heart failure, such as diabetes and coronary heart disease.
Heart failure patients also have an
increased risk of sudden death, or cardiac arrest, caused by an
To improve the chances of surviving
with heart failure, patients must take care of themselves.
- See their physician regularly;
- Closely follow all of their
- Take any medication according to
- Immediately inform their physician
of any significant change in their condition, such as an intensified
shortness of breath or swollen feet.
Patients with heart failure also
- Control their weight;
- Watch what they eat;
- Not smoke cigarettes or use other
tobacco products; and
- Abstain from or strictly limit
Even with the best care, heart failure
can worsen, but patients who don't take care of themselves are almost
writing themselves a prescription for poor health.
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