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Heart Failure: Where Are We Going?

heart disease

Similar to other fields in medicine, heart failure is an arena with many new advancements. The treatment plan for heart failure looks vastly different now than it did 20 years ago.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that heart failure affects nearly 6 million Americans. The American Heart Association (AHA) expects this number to grow to 8 million by 2030. Despite this unfortunate statistic, advancements in heart failure are rapidly evolving, and we are learning how to make heart failure a manageable condition.

Technology in Heart Failure

First Coast Cardiovascular Institute (FCCI) has a dedicated research team performing studies to advance care for heart failure patients. Our in-house research team ensures our patients are the first to benefit from new technology in Northeast Florida.

Autonomic Regulation Therapy

This is a new form of therapy that is currently involved in clinical trials.  The device works by stimulating the vagus nerve, which has shown promise in improving cardiac function, while simultaneously minimizing symptoms of heart failure.

CardioMEMS

We were the first healthcare provider in Northeast Florida to implant the CardioMEMS device. This device is the first FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device that has been proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions when used by physicians to manage heart failure. The device works by transmitting daily sensor readings from the patient’s home to their provider, allowing for personalized and proactive management to reduce the likelihood of hospitalizations.

Managing Heart Failure

The rate at which healthcare providers are making medical advancements is incredible. However, we should not forget about the effectiveness of the traditional treatment method for patients with heart failure: diet and exercise.

A large part of managing heart failure is diet. Many patients with heart failure are asked to follow a low sodium diet, which is often easier said than done. Here are a few tips to make following a low sodium diet a little easier.

  • Be cautious of canned soups, which tend to be dangerously high in sodium.
  • Consider replacing cooking salt with herbs and spices.
  • When eating out, ask for your dish to be prepared without salt.
  • Avoid smoked meats, which tend to be higher in sodium.

Patients with heart failure should also consider the following dietary factors:

Minimize soda consumption. It’s no secret that soda is a source of empty calories and lots of sugar. However, even diet sodas are quite controversial. Some studies indicate that diet sodas may be tied to weight gain and increased appetite. It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid both regular and diet sodas in general.

Monitor fluid intake. If you have heart failure, your body likely retains more fluid than it needs, according to the American Heart Association. Many individuals with heart failure are prescribed medication to help reduce extra water retention and reduce stress on the heart. Talk to your doctor about your fluid intake so you can develop a healthy diet that’s right for you.

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