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Living Well With Heart Failure

by Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN

  • Valve surgery might be done if your heart failure is due to valvular problems.
  • If you have damage or scar tissue in your left ventricle because of a heart attack, the affected area can be surgically removed and your left ventricle reshaped to improve your heart’s pumping action.
  • A device called an implantable left ventricular assist device can be surgically implanted to help your heart pump blood through your body. This device is considered a “bridge” to a heart transplantation.
  • Heart transplantation is considered when heart failure is severe enough that no other options work.
  • Prevention
    Knowing that your diabetes puts you at risk of developing heart failure means you can be proactive about preventing it. The following steps can help to lower your risk:

    • Control your blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels. Talk to your health-care provider about the best ways to do this.
    • Moderate your sodium intake by cutting back on processed and restaurant foods that are high in sodium.
    • Make regular physical activity a priority. Being active strengthens your heart, helps control blood pressure, and helps prevent weight gain.
    • Stop smoking if you smoke.
    • If you are being treated for high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about monitoring your blood pressure at home. There are accurate monitors that are easy to use. If you start to see numbers that are above your target range, call your health-care provider for early intervention. For people with diabetes, blood pressure should be lower than 130/80 mm Hg.
    • If you take Actos or Avandia and notice any symptoms of heart failure, contact your health-care provider immediately.

    Living well
    Heart failure sounds scary, and having it probably will increase the amount of time you need to devote to caring for your health. But a lot of people with heart failure are able to work, travel, and lead active lives in spite of it. You can, too, by making your health a priority and learning to manage your diabetes and heart failure as best as possible.

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    Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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