Is there a cure for heart failure

Heart failure is a chronic disease. This means that it is a disease that has no curative treatment. However, we can control it by carefully following the appropriate treatment and modifying habits that are harmful to this disease.

In this way, symptoms can be reduced and improved, and the progression of the disease can be delayed, thus improving the patient’s prognosis and quality of life.

Among the pharmacological and non-pharmacological measures to achieve this adequate control of the disease, the most important are:

  • Take all the medication prescribed by your physician and cardiologist. There are many pills, but each one has its function. Some of them may have side effects. However, the advantages of taking them outweigh the disadvantages and it is important to be aware of them:
    • Drugs to prevent progression of the disease: ramipril, enalapril, candesartan, losartan…
    • Drugs to control heart rate: bisoprolol, carvedilol, digoxin, ivabradine…
    • Diuretic drugs (eliminate liquid): furosemide, torasemide, hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, spironolactone, eplerenone…
    • Drugs to prevent the formation of clots or thrombi: synthrom, aspirin, clopidogrel, prasugrel, apixaban, dabigatran, rivaroxaban…
    • Cholesterol-lowering drugs: statins.
  • Measure your pulse and take your blood pressure periodically. This way you will have more control of your disease. Learn how to do it yourself and keep a record (Figure 1) of your notes to report to your doctor in case there are changes. Always do it at the same time of day and at rest.
  • Take care of your lifestyle, especially in physical exercise (if the disease is stabilized) and in taking care of your diet:
    • You should strive to stay at your ideal weight. Weigh yourself daily, at the same time (preferably in the morning) and if there is a change of 1 kg per day or 3 kg per week, consult your doctor or nurse of reference about the possibility of increasing your diuretic medication (to eliminate more liquids).
    • Avoid and reduce foods rich in fats: whole milk, egg yolks, fatty red meats, fried foods, sausages….
    • Limit the consumption of sodium (salt) in your diet. Salt favors fluid accumulation, which overloads the heart to perform its function (it has to work harder, pumping more times). Avoid the use of salt in foods, and above all, avoid foods that contain high amounts of salt such as: sausages and canned foods (canned foods), soups in envelopes, sauces, precooked foods, cured cheeses, salted butter, french fries, etc. Instead, you can add more flavor to food by adding garlic, onion, pepper, lemon, vinegar, etc.
    • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages; alcohol can weaken the heart muscle in patients with heart failure.
    • Control fluid intake, approximately 1.5 – 2 liters per day maximum (includes water, juices, coffee, milk, etc.). It is very important that you write down the amount of fluid you drink during the day so that you can monitor it.
  • It is important to exercise, without overdoing it, because it improves blood flow and reduces the workload of the heart:
    • Carry out a training program tailored to your needs (Figure 2), advised or supervised by specialized personnel. If possible, contact the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit of the Queen Sofia Hospital.
    • Choose activities that you enjoy and exercise in the company of others.
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In short, heart failure is a chronic disease that cannot be cured but can be controlled based on a series of basic measures summarized in Figure 3.