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Heart Failure and You. By Our April Student Pharmacist, T’Bony Jewell.


Congestive Heart failure (CHF) is a complex disease that affects your heart’s ability to effectively pump blood to your organs. CHF is usually a result of heart muscle remodeling; the muscle can become big and baggy or stiff and rigid. It is often caused by consistently high blood pressure and coronary artery disease (CAD).

High blood pressure is an increased resistance in blood flow and can be caused by a sodium rich diet, genetics, or poor kidney function.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is often the result of plaque buildup in the arteries surrounding the heart. It can be caused by genetics or an inactive lifestyle coupled with a poor, cholesterol rich diet.

Treating the underlying causes of CHF can aide in its control and relief of symptoms.

High blood pressure can be managed by weight loss, exercise, and eating a heart healthy diet that is low in sodium (less than 2000 mg per day).

CAD can be controlled and prevented by eating a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats, adherence to cholesterol lowering medications (like Statins), and increased daily activity.

Things you can do to prevent hospitalizations from worsening symptoms of CHF:

  1. Take your medications as directed by your physician.
    • Your medications work together to prevent your heart from working too hard. They also prevent your body from holding on to extra fluid that can build around your lungs making it difficult to breathe..
  2. Weigh yourself daily!
    • Weight changes are indicative of fluid retention. Limit your fluid and salt intake to help your diuretics work more effectively Any weight gain over two pounds in one day or 5-10 pounds in a week puts you at risk for being admitted to the hospital.
  3. Stay active.
    • Improving the function of the heart is beneficial in reducing symptoms. Your medications will make you feel better and help you to tolerate physical activity.
  4. Talk you your local pharmacist!
    • Pharmacists are great at recognizing gaps in medication therapy and offering alternatives to help you stay adherent. Pharmacists may also effectively communicate with your physician to help manage your therapy.
  5. Get your family involved.
    • Having a great support system to help you maintain a routine is another way to stay healthy. Family members can help you remember what’s in your diet, notice oncoming symptoms, and remind you to take your medications and weigh yourself.

Stay heart healthy and out of the hospital by using these tips.


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