How Can I Prevent Heart Failure from Happening?
Prevention of heart failure (HF) is best pursued by identifying those patients at risk so that early detection can allow the treatment of predisposing conditions. If HF is prevented or mitigated, so is the the increased morbidity and morality associated with it. Such a strategy can forestall heart failure (HF).
Major Areas of Focus Is Prevention of or Therapy For:
- Coronary artery disease
- Obesity and metabolic syndrome
- Dyslipidemia (elevated LDL-cholesterol, lower-than-normal HDL-cholesterol, and elevated triglycerides)
- Smoking, if applicable
- Illicit drug abuse, including sympathomimetic substances (cocaine, amphetamines)
Preventative care also includes annual influenza vaccinations and pneumococcal immunization to prevent the infectious complications that result in any further compromise of respiration due to pulmonary congestion and the general debilitation that HF creates.
Crucial in prevention of HF (delay of its onset) is early detection of left ventricular ejection fraction decreases (≤40%) in asymptomatic patients. For those who have already sustained a cardiac arrest, a repeat adverse cardiac event (including sudden cardiac death) is a constant threat. Therefore, implantable cardioverters-defibrillators are necessary in such HF patients. These have been proven to be more effective than antiarrhythmics alone.
Reversible causes of arrhythmias in HF patients, such as the electrolyte disturbances from renal impairment, should be sought, identified, and when present, reversed.
Heart failure may be impossible to prevent, since most patients who are diagnosed arrive with the current pathology attributable to age, genetics, and/or a long-lived life of poor lifestyle choices. The diagnosis of heart failure is not a forgone conclusion of mortality, but a challenge to institute prevention protocols to limit its morbidity.