What treatments are available?Heart failure caused by an excessive workload are curable by treating the primary disease, such as Anemia or Thyrotoxicosis. Also curable are forms caused by anatomical problems, such as a heart valve defect. These defects can be surgically corrected.
However, for the common forms of heart failure–those due to damaged heart muscle–no known cure exists. But treatment for these forms may be quite successful. The treatment seeks to improve patient’s quality of life and length of survival through lifestyle change and drug therapy.
Patients can minimize the effects of heart failure by controlling the risk factors for heart disease. Obvious steps include quitting smoking, losing weight if necessary, abstaining from alcohol, and making dietary changes to reduce the amount of salt and fat consumed. Regular, modest exercise is also helpful for many patients, though the amount and intensity should be carefully monitored by a physician.
But, even with lifestyle changes, most heart failure patients must take medication. Many patients receive two or more drugs.
Several types of drugs have proven useful in the treatment of heart failure: