How to Build Your Heart Failure Treatment Team
It’s important to diagnose and treat heart failure as soon as possible. Heart failure treatment depends on how severe it is and what’s causing it.
Several health problems can lead to heart failure. These include diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. To help manage such health problems, you might make some lifestyle changes. These can ease symptoms and prevent heart failure from getting worse. Changes might include following a diet that's good for your heart. Getting more physical activity and losing weight might be in order, depending on your current physical fitness routine. If you smoke, quitting can help.
Working with a team of doctors, including a heart failure specialist, and other healthcare providers can help you meet these goals. Members of your team may include:
heart specialist and any other healthcare professionals you might need. This doctor also coordinates your care and is your first contact for medical problems and advice.
Heart conditions like heart disease (coronary artery disease), irregular heartbeats, heart valve disease, and high blood pressure can all contribute to heart failure or make it worse. A cardiologist is the specialist with expertise in treating these and other heart problems.
endocrinologist. That's a doctor who specializes in treating diabetes, among other diseases. Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels. Over time, this can damage the heart and blood vessels. If you have heart failure and diabetes, you'll need to monitor your blood sugar and manage both conditions.
pacemaker, in your chest to help your heart muscle work properly. If you have an irregular heartbeat, you may have an ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) placed near your heart. Your doctor might also recommend a mechanical heart pump to help your heart do its job. People with advanced heart failure may need a heart transplant.
physical therapist can tailor a program just for you.
dietitian can help you develop a healthy eating plan.
social worker can help you understand your health insurance coverage. He or she can help you come up with a care plan if you become very sick. A social worker can also help you find support services in your community.
pain and get rid of extra fluid. Others help you manage cholesterol and prevent blood clots. Your pharmacist can provide important information on all the medications you are taking. This includes any possible side effects.