The Risk of Heart Failure

Tuesday, February 28, 2017
The Risk of Heart Failure

Do you know 6 million Americans live with heart failure?  Heart failure is a chronic and progressive disease that means your heart isn't pumping well and is unable to provide the body everything it needs. Many are aware that heart failure is a cause of death for many Americans, but are unaware of the causes and what to watch for.

Most people who are diagnosed with heart failure have another condition first. Two common causes of heart failure are hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease, which could include a heart attack, stent, or having coronary artery bypass surgery.  Other causes include cardiomyopathy (weak heart muscle), congenital heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias (such as atrial fibrillation), valvular heart disease (stiff or leaky heart valves), diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, aging, and certain medications can all cause heart failure.

Do you know the symptoms of heart failure? Individuals with heart failure may have no symptoms at all or may have severe symptoms.  The following symptoms can come and go. 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Having to sleep upright
  • Persistent cough
  • Swelling in your legs, ankles, or abdomen
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite. 

So what happens if you are diagnosed with heart failure? Heart failure cannot usually be cured, but can be treated and managed. To support heart failure patients Prairie Lakes Cardiology has the Prairie Lakes Heart Failure Program.  This program provides heart failure patients access to a team of health care professionals. Our team works together to improve the quality of life, reduce emergency room visits, and help prevent hospital stays for every patient.

Patients in Prairie Lakes Heart Failure Program receive an individualized treatment plan. Treatment plans can include remote monitoring, lifestyle changes, cardiac rehab, medications, and nutrition counseling. For patients who qualify, remote monitoring can give them more time at home, doing the things they love. With remote monitoring we can see in real time if a patient’s status changes, before symptoms start to show, and can adjust the treatment if needed. This real time, remote monitoring helps keep patients out of the hospital and at home.  

Although it can be difficult to live with a chronic condition like heart failure, many people adjust their lifestyle and learn to manage the symptoms. They live full, enjoyable lives. It is important for everybody, not just those with a chronic disease, to manage their health with a positive attitude and know their family’s medical history. Being aware of your health and being willing to make changes to better it will help pave the way to a happy, fulfilling life. 

Prairie Lakes Cardiology

Written by Jacklyn Karli, Certified Nurse Practitioner and Certified Heart Failure Nurse
Last modified on Tuesday, January 26, 2021