There are several types of heart failure therapy or treatments for congestive heart failure, including modification of diet. Prescription heart medications may also be an integral part of the regimen. Restricting strenuous exercise may also be included in heart failure therapy. Incorporating beneficial heart-healthy exercises may be another option.
In some cases of heart failure, patients may suffer irreversible damage to the heart valves. Heart valves maintain proper function by opening and closing, allowing proper blood flow. When the heart valves become damaged, surgery may be needed. Surgery to repair or replace damaged heart valves may be one method of heart failure therapy.
Certain heart medications also can control symptoms associated with heart failure. If the patient is retaining excess sodium, doctors may put him on a sodium-restricted diet, and give him a prescription for something known as angiotensin converting enzyme drugs. These are commonly referred to ACE inhibitors. As part of heart failure therapy, these medications also help improve blood vessel function and keep veins and arteries from becoming blocked. One of the drawbacks to long-term use of ACE inhibitor drugs is the possibility of renal failure or impairment in kidney function.
Consuming nutritious food containing heart-healthy enzymes and omega-3 fatty acids can be a type of heart therapy. Fish oil supplements may be prescribed, but dosing needs to be carefully monitored, as this can lead to thinning of the blood. Therefore, patients who take blood thinning drugs, or who are prone to bleeding disorders, should not take fish oil supplements without a doctor's supervision. The physician may also recommend a low-fat diet that contains plenty of healthy antioxidants.
For patients whose coronary arteries have narrowed significantly or have become blocked, restriction of blood flow may result. In some cases, medication may help resolve this issue. If this does not correct the problem, coronary bypass surgery be be an option.
Shortness of breath and chest pain are often major symptoms associated with congestive heart failure. This can sometimes be treated with pain-relieving drugs and restriction of heavy physical activity. As a part of heart failure therapy, light to moderate activity such as short walks may be beneficial for some patients. Eliminating stress, on the job or in one's personal life, may also be recommended as an effective method of heart failure therapy. Elimination of caffeine and nicotine are other components of a heart therapy program.
Heart failure therapy may also include the implantation of certain medical devices into the chest wall. Pacemakers and defibrillators are electrical devices inserted in the chest to maintain proper function or increase the heart's capacity. In extreme cases of heart failure, however, the only option left may be heart transplant surgery.