Congestive Heart Failure Home > Congestive Heart Failure Treatment

When treating congestive heart failure, the goals are to treat the underlying causes of the condition, improve symptoms, and prolong life. Lifestyle changes (such as exercising and quitting smoking) and medications (such as beta-blockers and diuretics) are the primary forms of treatment. People with very severe heart failure may be considered for a mechanical heart pump or a heart transplant.

Treating Congestive Heart Failure: An Introduction

While most people with congestive heart failure (CHF) cannot be cured, medications, changes in diet and lifestyle, and specialized care for those in advanced stages of the disease can often relieve symptoms and greatly improve the quality of their lives. These treatments may also prolong a person's life by slowing down how fast the condition progresses. Since there are many causes of CHF, the treatments your doctor recommends for you may be quite different from those recommended for someone else.
The goals of congestive heart failure treatment are to:
  • Treat the underlying cause of your heart failure
  • Improve your symptoms and quality of life
  • Stop your heart failure from getting worse
  • Prolong your life span.
Your healthcare provider will also continue to treat the underlying diseases or conditions (such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes) that caused the heart failure.

Lifestyle Changes as Congestive Heart Failure Treatment

Lifestyle changes that your doctor may recommend as part of treating congestive heart failure include:
  • Follow a diet low in salt. Salt can cause extra fluid to build up in your body, making your heart failure worse.
  • Limit the amount of fluids that you drink.
  • Weigh yourself every day, and let your doctor know right away if you have a sudden weight gain. This could mean that you have extra fluid building up in your body.
  • Exercise as directed to help build up your fitness level and ability to be more active.
Your doctor will also tell you to:
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Quit smoking if you smoke
  • Limit the amount of alcohol that you drink.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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