Heart failure - treatment and prevention

Treatment of heart failure

If heart failure is diagnosed, the goal of the treatment is to slow the progression of heart failure and maintain quality of life as long as possible. Today, a number of effective medications are available that either directly strengthen the contraction force of the heart muscle, indirectly facilitate the work of the heart muscle, or combat sequelae of heart failure such as water retention in the lungs and legs. Most often, multiple drugs with different modes of action must be taken simultaneously to achieve the desired success.

Cardiac catheter, bypass and heart transplant

Depending on the underlying disease, specific measures are used, such as balloon dilatation of the coronary arteries by cardiac catheterization or bypass surgery for coronary heart disease, which may cause surgical correction or insertion of an artificial heart valve in the heart (valves).

The last available therapy option for severe heart failure is heart transplantation. With the modern drugs to suppress rejection, the rate of success of this procedure has increased significantly in recent years.

Proper nutrition and moderate exercise are important

No matter what measures are used: for a successful therapy, the person concerned must pay attention to the following points - the details are set individually with the attending physician:

  • Limit daily fluid intake to help pump the heart muscle and prevent water retention
  • Low-salt diet to reduce water retention
  • Abandonment of excessive alcohol consumption and nicotine consumption
  • Regular physical activity without being physically overstrained
  • Daily weight control with tendency to water retention
  • Regular intake of prescribed medication
  • Regular follow-up visits to the attending physician

Characteristically, cardiac insufficiency leads to significant fluctuations in the symptoms. Even if it is possible by medication to bring the disturbed balance of the cardiovascular system back into balance, it always comes back to phases with a significant increase in symptoms. The acute crises, usually associated with severe respiratory distress of the patient, can often only be controlled in the hospital by intensifying the medication.


It is known from numerous medical studies that the life span of a person depends directly on the power of his heart. Particularly in the case of a severely impaired performance of the heart muscle, the person at risk is at high risk for a sudden cardiac death, triggered by acute heart failure or by serious cardiac arrhythmias.

In addition, heart failure, even with optimal therapy, is a chronic process that regresses only in exceptional cases, but usually progresses. As a therapeutic success is therefore already evaluated, if the symptoms remain constant over years. In individual cases, it is not easy to make reliable predictions about the further course of the disease.

Preventive measures

Anything that helps prevent other cardiovascular diseases or has a positive influence on their course also helps prevent heart failure. These include abstinence from smoking and alcohol, regulation of body weight and regular physical activity. But mental stress factors should also be kept within limits.

In some genetically engineered forms of heart muscle disease, however, the course of these with preventive measures can not or hardly be influenced. If underlying diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, lipid metabolism disorder or gout are present, they must be treated dietary and medicinal.

For new or existing heart valve inflammation, antibiotics should be taken in some cases prior to dental procedures, endoscopies and other procedures, in consultation with your doctor.

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