Over six million U.S. adults suffer from heart failure. But this piece of health news is not focused on the negative — but rather the positive. While heart failure has become more common over time, there are signs that deaths from it have not and hospitalization rates may be stabilizing. The future, as it turns out, is promising! Let’s take a look.
The study, via the American Heart Association, found that in spite of more people being affected, the prognosis for patients with heart failure has steadily improved. There are better therapies and treatment systems now. There is more research and now people aren’t given a dismal diagnosis. Lives can be saved, and are being saved, in our modern world.
Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition where the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood through the heart to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. Your cells don’t get enough blood and this results in fatigue and shortness of breath. Everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or carrying groceries can become difficult.
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Yet even for the patient with chronic heart muscle weakness, a significant amount of heart function can now be restored. There are many more options now available for patients even with advanced disease. Artificial heart pumping devices, for instance, are remarkable. Also, better quality of care is also making a difference in heart failure outcomes.
Studies now show that therapies mean people are more likely to survive over the next two years. Every 10% improvement in the use of recommended therapies translates to a 13% lower risk of death among heart failure patients over the next two years.
Hospital readmissions after treatment for heart failure have been a growing issue. But this, too, can be turned around. Patients themselves should be aware of how their bodies are responding during recovery and beyond. You must quickly deal with any new or fluctuating symptoms. A quick call to the doctor can make a big difference in getting you back on track. Don’t dismiss symptoms that could land you back in the hospital.
Here is the deal: many people with heart failure can lead a full, enjoyable life when the condition is managed with correct medications and devices and with healthy lifestyle changes. And how about prevention? People have learned more that keeping proper blood pressure levels and reducing risks for heart disease will prevent heart failure outright.
Researchers think the future holds promise that we can remove “failure” from the name of this condition.