Heart Failure Awareness Month 2022: Taking care of one's heart is crucial, especially if one is suffering from heart failure. Heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump blood efficiently, as seen by shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, and exhaustion.
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Heart Failure Awareness Month in 2022 is a fantastic time to promote awareness about the issue while also providing simple advice to help heart failure patients live better and happier lives. Heart failure is a chronic illness that can be adequately controlled with the right treatment and care.
Such patients can greatly benefit from regular interactions with their cardiologists, adherence to prescribed treatment plans, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Dr K Sarat Chandra, senior cardiologist at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Hyderabad, former Editor, Indian Heart Journal and former president, Cardiological Society of India, said, "In India, heart failure is an increasing problem and the reasons for this are the high prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and heart attack. Very often we see younger people coming with these conditions. To prevent these problems, we need to improve our lifestyle, do regular exercise, stop smoking and limit alcohol intake. Also control blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Regarding heart failure, a number of new treatments have come into practice and early treatment will benefit our patients."
Here are a few tips for all heart failure patients:
* Talk to your cardiologist!
It is good to have regular conversations with your cardiologist. Report new or worsening symptoms you observe immediately. These timely check-ups will help you keep track of your progress and get the right advice at the right time.
* Check your salt consumption
Inadequate blood flow to the kidneys causes the body to retain water and fluids which leads to swollen legs, abdomen and ankles, increased urination, and weight gain. High salt consumption is known to cause extra fluid build-up in your body and worsens heart failure. Therefore, keep your salt intake in check by lowering salt levels in your meals, replacing salt with herbs and spices or choosing 'low-salt' or preferably 'no salt added' when buying canned or frozen foods.
* Track your fluid intake
Drinking a lot of fluids can worsen your heart failure. It is advisable to limit beverages like tea, juice, and soft drinks, as well as foods with high water content like soups, watermelon or even ice cream! Quick weight gain can be a sign of fluid build-up in your body.
* Stick to the prescribed treatment
Staying on top of taking your medications as prescribed is crucial for effective heart failure management. Use reminders or alarms to never miss a dose or an appointment! If you live alone, paste sticky notes on your cabinets or refrigerator as an easy reminder.
According to Prof. (Dr.) Sundeep Mishra, former Professor of Cardiology Department of AIIMS and presently Vice-Chancellor (President) of NIMS University, "With the increasing burden of heart failure in India, especially in the younger population, it is necessary to recognise it - as a public health priority.
The key reason for the rise in heart failure cases is the growing dependency on a sedentary lifestyle, higher consumption of salt, sugar and fat in the diet and rising stress levels. Although, heart failure can be still managed better by regular treatment and regular conversations with a cardiologist and a holistic treatment plan can help one manage the condition better."