Heart Failure (cont.)

How Can I Prevent Further Heart Damage?

In an effort to prevent further heart damage:

  • Stop smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Reach and maintain your healthy weight.
  • Control high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes.
  • Exercise regularly .
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Have surgery or other procedures to treat your heart failure as recommended.

What Medications Should I Avoid?

There are several different types of medications that are best avoided in those with heart failure including:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin or Aleve. For relief of aches, pains, or fever, take Tylenol instead.
  • Most antiarrhythmic agents
  • Most calcium channel blockers (if you have systolic heart failure)
  • Some nutritional supplements, such as salt substitutes, and growth hormone therapies
  • Antacids that contain sodium (salt)
  • Decongestants such as Sudafed

If you are taking any of these medications, discuss them with your doctor.

It is important to know the names of your medications, what they are used for and how often and at what times you take them. Keep a list of your medications and bring them with you to each of your doctor visits. Never stop taking your medications without discussing it with your doctor. Even if you have no symptoms, your medications decrease the work of your heart so that it can pump more effectively.

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