5 Tips For Understanding Your Heart Failure Medications
The heart is a complex organ that continuously pumps and circulates oxygenated blood throughout the body. The heart’s contractions, such as exercise or rest, adapt to varying demands. It also regulates blood pressure and flow by responding to hormonal and neural signals. This complexity enables the organ to keep us healthy.
Nonetheless, any form of heart damage or heart disease can be a traumatic experience that threatens our ‘well-being.’There is no cure for heart failure, and the only aim of the various treatment methods available is to alleviate symptoms and impede its progression.
These days, we have numerous medicines to treat and keep a check on heart failure, but they have their pros and cons of side effects. Here, we provide five tips to understand and use safely your prescribed heart failure medications
- Know your heart type failure.
The type of heart failure determines the medications you receive. Heart failure reduces the heart’s pumping ability and needs to be addressed to restore it to a healthy condition. Hence, knowing the type of heart failure affects the medications you need.
Left-sided heart failure: This is the most common type of heart failure. The left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body. In left-sided heart failure, the left ventricle cannot pump efficiently, leading to a shortage of oxygen-rich blood. This leads to a collection of blood in the lungs instead.
Right-sided heart failure: This heart failure results as a side effect of the inefficient pumping of the left ventricle. The right ventricle’s job is to pump enough blood that needs to be replenished with oxygen to the lungs. However, there is already accumulated blood in the lungs due to left-sided heart failure. The extra blood causes elevated blood pressure in the blood vessels between the heart and lung, ultimately damaging the heart’s right-side parts.
Congestive heart failure: This occurs when fluid accumulates in different parts of the body due to fluid retention in the lungs and reduced blood flow through the circulatory system. It results in edema along with shortness of breath.
- Know the role of each medication.
Each medication prescribed to treat your heart failure has a specific purpose in treating your heart failure. Knowing the purpose of each drug can enhance your understanding of how and when to take it, its dosage, expected outcomes, etc. Keeping a list of your medicines can help you and the physician track your medications and health conditions and avoid any problems related to drug interactions.
- Follow the prescribed medication regimen.
This is one of the crucial steps in managing your heart failure treatment. Follow precisely your physician’s instructions in taking the prescribed medications to receive the full benefit of the treatment. Medications help manage the disease, control the symptoms, and improve the patient’s overall health.
Not following a consistent medication routine can lead to ineffective treatment or even cause other health issues. Setting reminders on your phone or using pill organizers can help you maintain the correct medication routine.
- Look out for medication side effects.
It is common to have minor side effects with most heart failure medications. Understanding the potential side effects can help your consulting doctor regulate the medication dosages and monitor the functions of the kidneys and other vital organs.
Some common side effects of heart failure medications include dizziness, fatigue, and low blood pressure. However, not everyone will experience these side effects. In many cases, these side effects may persist for a while and slowly subside as your body adapts to the medication.
- Manage stress:
Doing regular exercise improves cardiovascular health. Routine exercise helps reduce stress by releasing endorphins and also helps maintain a healthy weight. But don’t forget to discuss with your healthcare provider to determine the most suitable exercise routine for your specific condition.
Having a low-sodium diet can help control fluid retention; hence, reducing salt intake is important. Introduce fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to your diet while avoiding saturated fats and sugar.
Smoking is considered one of the biggest risk factors for heart failure. The components in cigarettes and tobacco can narrow your blood vessels and cause strain on your heart. Quitting smoking can help in normal blood pumping and distribution of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.
Heart failure is a complex yet manageable disease by taking medications on time and following a healthy lifestyle. Remember, abruptly stopping your medications can cause serious consequences. Hence, do not discontinue your medication without discussing it with your physician.