With chronic heart failure, otherwise known as congestive heart failure or just heart failure, the heart is not able to pump enough blood throughout the body. As a result, organs, muscles, and other tissues can no longer be adequately oxygenated and physical performance is reduced.
Chronic heart failure can develop over a long period of time, for example due to permanently elevated blood pressure or coronary heart disease. It is for precisely for this reason that it is important to diagnose and treat the disease in good time.
Blood pressure: Control measurement every three to five years for all men and women, beginning at age 18. Annually, in case of personal risk factors, such as severe obesity.
Cholesterol: Control measurements every five years for men between the ages of 35 and 65, for women between the ages of 45 and 65. For high-risk patients (e.g. cardiovascular diseases in the family), at least every five years beginning at age 20, or as recommended by the doctor.
Blood glucose: Every three years for men and women over the age of 45; for high-risk patients (e.g. diabetes in the family, high blood pressure, severe overweight), as recommended by the doctor.
Consistent medication therapy in the event of these three risk factors is central to reducing the risk of chronic heart failure.
Quit smoking, reduce excess weight, create a balance between private and professional life with sufficient rest and exercise, eat healthily. Take these topics to heart. If necessary, have a specialist support you.
Depending on how far the chronic heart failure has progressed, it may go unnoticed, trigger only mild discomfort, or have a significant impact on physical capacity. In advanced heart failure, even normal day-to-day activities are difficult.
The most common symptoms are shortness of breath, fatigue, water retention in the legs, or increased heart rate. However, such symptoms may have other causes – therefore, careful diagnosis is important.
Chronic heart failure is not curable, but can be treated well with these approaches:
Medication: The medication depends on the underlying disease, the type, and the stage of heart failure. The medication – often as a combination – helps relieve the heart. It strengthens the heart muscle, slows down the heart rate, lowers the blood pressure, eliminates arrhythmia, or has a diuretic effect. Such medication exists in a great variety. Very often, it is also available as generic medicinal products: equally effective, only cheaper. Ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Self-monitoring: Take your medication conscientiously and as prescribed. Document daily your body weight as well as your vital signs, such as blood pressure and heart rate.
Contact your doctor in the event of an acute deterioration in health, for example with rapid daily weight gain due to water retention, shortness of breath, or rapid heartbeat.
Lifestyle: Quit smoking, enjoy alcohol in moderation, eat a balanced diet, reduce excess weight, join a suitable endurance and muscle training in a heart group in your area, get enough rest, avoid stress – adjust your lifestyle.
Do you need surgery?
CONCORDIA has commissioned the institute B,B,S. Economic Consultants in Basel to evaluate the surgical and diagnostic-therapeutic interventions for chronic heart failure in all Swiss acute care hospitals – independently, neutrally, and according to statistical quality criteria.
The quality of inpatient treatment was assessed, along with the length of stay and the hospital costs.
During a personal conversation, we will show you, on the basis of the results, which hospitals throughout Switzerland have excelled over the years in the surgical and diagnostic-therapeutic interventions for chronic heart failure in terms of quality and efficiency.
Use our consulting offer to find out which hospital is most suitable for your treatment.
Naturally, you still have the choice of when and where you would like to be treated, in line with your basic and supplementary insurances.
Following an operational intervention in an acute care hospital, cardiac rehabilitation may be necessary. Medical institutions throughout Switzerland offer this rehabilitation on both an outpatient or inpatient basis.
Rehabilitation aims at rebuilding physical performance. Unhealthy behaviours should be recognised and changed over the long term. It is also important to prevent or reduce the negative psychosocial effects of the disease.
The social service of the hospital organises inpatient or, if your state of health allows it, outpatient cardiac rehabilitation after your hospital discharge. Outpatient rehabilitations are as effective as inpatient rehabilitation. Apply for the reimbursement of the cost of rehabilitation through your doctor already before you are admitted into the hospital – this way, you can avoid waiting times in the hospital.
You will probably need to take medication for the rest of your life in order to strengthen your heart and reduce the risk that your health deteriorates. Therefore, pay attention to the explanations of your cardiologist or family doctor.
You save on costs if, when purchasing the medication, you buy generics as a large package, and via a mail-order pharmacy. Ask your doctor – especially when your doctor prescribes a new medication for you.
Enter the medication and vital signs (e.g. blood pressure) diligently into your medication passport. Allow yourself to be helped at home so that you can handle your everyday life safely and in a carefree manner.
Living with a chronic illness requires very good self-management in order to be able to successfully master the various challenges in everyday life. concordiaCoach can support you in doing so.
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