In June 2011 we received full Cycle I Heart Failure Accreditation status from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care — the first hospital in New York State to achieve this designation and only one of 55 in the United States with the accreditation. Crouse is the first hospital in New York State to have earned dual chest pain and heart failure accreditation.
Managing Your Heart Failure
Millions of people have been diagnosed with heart failure and many are able to lead normal, active and healthy lives. Heart failure is a chronic (life-long) disease that can be managed if you learn to take good care of yourself. A treatment plan will be designed for you by your doctor, including various testing, medications and lifestyle changes.
The following ABCDEs will help keep you on track for managing heart failure:
A- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE) and Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB’s) - These are medications that cause your blood vessels to relax and widen. This lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier for blood to flow, so your heart does not have to pump harder.
B- Beta Blockers – These are medications that control certain hormones that can damage your heart. They slow down your heart rate and help it fill more completely with blood.
C- Congestion – Heart failure means that your heart muscle is weakened and not pumping as well as it should. Sometimes extra fluid builds up in your body and creates congestion. This congestion can be seen as extra weight gain, swelling in the feet, legs and abdomen, coughing and/or an increased shortness of breath.
D- Diet – Heart failure patients have specific dietary concerns. Salt intake should be limited to 2,000 mg or less each day. It’s important to learn how to read food labels and choose foods with less than 140 mg of sodium per serving. Be aware of excessive fluid intake as this also could contribute to congestion.
E- Education – The most important person in treating and managing your disease is you. It’s important for you to learn about this disease and your specific treatment plan. This knowledge will assist you in living as normal and active a lifestyle as possible. Contact your healthcare provider if you have questions.
S- Symptoms – In the beginning stages of heart failure, there may not be many symptoms. However, you may still be required to start taking medicine and make some lifestyle changes that can help slow heart failure or even make it better. In some cases, heart failure can get worse over time.
It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of worsening heart failure as noted below, and notify your doctor or primary healthcare provider if these symptoms occur.
• Feeling easily tired
• Feeling short of breath with certain activities
• Feeling like your heart is pounding or racing
• Feeling weak or dizzy
• Having swelling in feet, legs, and abdomen
• Coughing or wheezing, especially when you lie down
• Feeling bloated or sick to your stomach
Remember: At the first sign or symptom of congestive heart failure notify your your doctor or primary healthcare provider if any of these symptoms occur.
CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE - Downloadable Flyer