Health Encyclopedia

 

Health Encyclopedia Home



Heart Failure: Getting the Care You Need

Heart Failure: Getting the Care You Need

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with heart failure, you probably have a lot of questions. What can I expect from treatment? What can I do to manage the condition? What kind of care will be needed in the future? It's important to have an open and honest discussion with your health care provider about these concerns. These tips can help you make sure your needs are met.

It's important to ask your health care provider questions during your visit to make sure you understand your condition and what your treatment involves. If you're uncomfortable doing so, it might help to bring a list of questions with you. You can give the list to your health care provider or use it to jog your memory during the visit. You'll probably want answers to questions such as these:

  • What is my diagnosis?

  • What is my heart function or ejection fraction?

  • Will my condition get worse?

  • What are the treatment options?

  • Will the treatment have side effects?

  • Why do I need this medication?

  • Will my insurance cover the treatment?

  • How much will the treatment help me?

  • Will I be able to take care of myself in the weeks and months ahead?

  • What can I do to manage my condition?

  • Which activities can I do, and which should I avoid?

Bring a notebook to write down the answers. Some people record the conversation so that they can listen again to their health care provider's instructions later. Don't be embarrassed to ask the health care provider to slow down or repeat something. It's important that you clearly understand your treatment, your medications and what you need to do to manage your condition.

Be open with your health care provider

Your health care provider will also need some important information from you. Tell your provider about your symptoms and how you're feeling. It's especially important to let your provider know about any changes or problems you've experienced. Be frank about whether you've been able to follow the diet, exercise, and other advice you've been given. Your health care provider needs to know where you're having difficulty so that he or she can help. Your provider also needs to know about all the medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements, so bring a list with you. And if you are seeing more than 1 health care provider, be sure that each one knows all the medications prescribed for you.

Ask for a helping hand

Sometimes your regular routine can seem challenging. If it's exhausting going to and from medical appointments, ask a family member to go with you. He or she can take notes, help you remember questions to ask and learn how to help you at home. Your health care provider may give you a referral to see a registered dietitian if you're having trouble following a low-salt, low-fat diet. He or she will work with you to develop meal plans, shopping lists, and recipes with your favorite foods. Your health care provider can also help you develop an exercise routine geared toward your abilities.

What you can do

There's a lot you can do at home to monitor your health. Your health care provider may ask you to weigh yourself regularly and keep a log of your weight, blood pressure, and symptoms. You can track your blood pressure with an easy-to-use digital monitor. Take your medications as prescribed. If you are having trouble doing so, contact your health care provider. Never stop taking your medications before talking with him or her. These practices will help your health care provider evaluate how well your treatment is working.

Taking an active role in your health can have many benefits. The more you and your health care provider know about your heart failure, the better treatment and care you'll receive for your condition.

 
Related Items
Wellness Library
  Live Well with Congestive Heart Failure
SCC Videos
  Heart Failure
Content Type 134
  Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy
Content Type 167
  BNP (Blood)
Nutritional Supplement Advisor
  Coenzyme Q-10
  Magnesium
Drug Reference
  Bisoprolol
  Digitoxin
  Digoxin
  Dobutamine
  Dopamine
  Valsartan
  Nesiritide, BNP
  Enalapril, Enalaprilat
  Hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata
  Ethacrynic Acid
  Co-Enzyme Q10, Ubiquinone
  Hydralazine; Isosorbide Dinitrate, ISDN
  Lisinopril
  Tolvaptan
  Inamrinone
  Metoprolol
  Milrinone
  Nicardipine
  Nitroglycerin
  Nitroprusside
  Quinapril
  Ramipril
  Captopril
  Carvedilol
Disease Management
  Heart Failure: After Hospitalization
  The Connection Between Heart Failure and COPD
  What Is Cardiac Asthma?
  Heart Failure: Breathe More Easily
  Clinical Guidelines for Heart Failure
  For Your Heart, Watch the Summertime Heat
  Medication Management Tips
  Heart Failure and Physical Activity
  Tracking Symptoms of Heart Failure
Daily News Feed
  Smog Tied to Higher Risk of Lung Cancer, Heart Failure
  Development of New Diabetes Drug Halted by Maker
  Country Singer Randy Travis Suffers a Stroke
  Measures to Keep Heart Failure Patients From Returning to the Hospital
  Many Patients Getting Needless Heart Test, Study Contends
  Drug for Pulmonary Hypertension Shows 'Modest' Benefit in Studies
  Study IDs Best Heart Failure Patients for Pacemakers
  Prompt Surgery May Be Best for Heart Valve Leak
  Heart Failure Survival May Get a Boost From Doctor's Visit
  Scientists Pinpoint Which Kids With Heart Muscle Disease Are in Most Danger
  New Method Cuts Radiation During Pacemaker Procedure: Study
  Mental State Influences Readmission After Heart Failure Treatment, Study Says
  Healthy Eating Benefits Heart Failure Patients, Study Says
  Study Finds Links Between Psoriasis, Heart Failure
  FDA to Lift Restrictions on Diabetes Drug Avandia
  Study Raises Concerns Over Safety of Implanted Heart Pump
  Research Reveals Secret Behind a Steady Heartbeat
  Too Much Sitting May Raise Heart Failure Risk for Men
  Hospital Safety Improves for Heart Patients, Study Finds
  'House' TV Series Leads to Real-Life Diagnosis
  Fewer Heart Patients Now Dying From Heart Disease, Study Shows
  FDA to Investigate Diabetes Drug Saxagliptin for Possible Heart Failure Risk
  Injected Gel Might Someday Help Treat Heart Failure
  Daily Fish Oil Supplement May Not Help Your Heart: Studies
  For Heart Failure Patients, Shortness of Breath When Bending May Signal Problem
  Space Travel Alters Shape of Human Heart, Study Reports
  Stem Cells May Rejuvenate Failing Hearts, Study Suggests
  Depression May Be Linked to Heart Failure
  Heart Failure Drug Might Help Reduce Hospitalizations
  Early Menopause Linked to Heart Failure Risk in Swedish Study
  COPD Patients Face Greater Risk of Heart Failure, Study Says
  Sleeping Pill Use Tied to Poorer Survival for Heart Failure Patients
  Some Breast Cancer Patients May Get Drug-Linked Heart Failure: Study
  Remote Monitoring Device Approved for Heart Patients
  Many With Heart Failure Aren't Told About End-of-Life Care: Study
  Implanted Defibrillators May Help Patients With Moderate Heart Failure
  Hot Dogs, Salami May Raise Men's Heart Failure Risk, Study Suggests
Adult Diseases and Conditions
  Cardiac Rehabilitation
  Heart Failure
  Echocardiography (Echo)
Pediatric Diseases and Conditions
  Heart Failure in Children