A heart failure does not mean that your father's heart has stopped working or is going to stop functioning. What it means, is that he has a condition, where -
- Either his heart cannot pump enough blood, to meet the needs of his body, or
- That his heart cannot pump blood to the other parts of his body, with enough force.
This condition can develop, over a period of time, as the pumping action of the heart grows weaker. In most cases, a heart failure affects both sides of the heart. Sometimes, it can also affect the right side of the heart only.
The main causes of a heart failure are the diseases that can damage the heart, like diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary heart diseases (also known as coronary artery diseases). A heart failure is a serious condition, which should not be treated lightly; it requires a significant amount of medical care.
Your father's condition can improve considerably, with the right medication. His doctor may advise him to take a combination of:
- Beta blockers
- Ace inhibitors
- Angiotensin receptor blockers
- Water tablets or fluid pills
- Aldosterone antagonists
His medical care provider may also recommend spironolactone and a combination of Hydrolyzing/ Nitrate. A good cardiologist can give you some advice about the use of appropriate therapy to help him.
He will also need to make simple changes to his lifestyle to make him feel better and keep his condition under control. Ask him to ensure that he:
- Maintains a balanced diet, which includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry (skinless), fish, beans and fat free milk & dairy products. A healthy diet is low in trans-fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar.
- Monitors his intake of liquids. It is important to drink the right amount and type of fluid. People suffering from heart failure should avoid alcohol.
- Gets the right amount of physical activity everyday, which helps him to stay fit and active. He will need to lose weight, in case he is overweight.
- Stops smoking, as it can worsen the heart failure. He should also avoid people who smoke, as passive smoking is bad too.
- Gets an adequate amount of rest everyday.
Submitted by M T on March 8, 2010 at 11:49