Heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart muscle has completely stopped. What it means is that your heart is weakened and unable to push enough oxygen-rich blood to your body. For most people, heart failure cannot be cured, so the focus is on managing the condition and providing a good quality of life. Medication and lifestyle changes are the mainstays of heart failure management. When underlying causes of heart failure are known, treatment will be directed at correcting the condition that is causing the heart to become weak.
The Spectrum of Care
Heart failure treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. For most people, heart failure is a chronic, progressive disease. This means that treatment will be adjusted to address the condition if it worsens over time. Doctors and other healthcare providers often refer to this as the spectrum of care: medical treatment is available along the continuum of a disease, from mild to end stage.
Adult patients with less advanced heart failure will be asked to make lifestyle changes and will be prescribed medications to reduce the workload of the heart muscle. As the condition worsens, procedures, surgeries, implantation of mechanical devices to assist the heart or even heart transplant may be required.
In children, treatment will be targeted at correcting any congenital heart defects (problems that were present at birth) or treating other underlying causes. The mechanisms by which children develop heart failure differ from adults, and therefore, lifestyle changes will not be a focus of treatment as in adults.
Treating Heart Failure in Adults
Follow these links for information about heart failure treatment for adults:
Treating Heart Failure in Children
Follow these links for information about heart failure treatment for children:
A team of medical professionals will help you not just with any treatments for heart failure, but will also be your contact for ongoing prevention of worsening heart failure and hospital readmission. These professionals can help you with guidelines for nutrition, physical activity and much more.
If you have heart failure, click here to learn about Your Support System if You Have Heart Failure.
If your child has heart failure, follow this link to read Your Support System If Your Child Has Heart Failure.