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Health Information Preventing and Treating Heart Failure

More than 5 million Americans have heart failure, a chronic condition in which the heart can't pump enough oxygenated blood to meet the body's needs.

But while there's no cure, a number of treatment options can enable people with heart failure to live longer and more active lives.

"A lot of people end up in a spiral of hopelessness in dealing with heart failure, and I think that should not be the case," says Jose Mendez, MD, a cardiologist at Rush University Medical Center. "There are a lot of good measures and interventions that could benefit these patients."

On June 17, Mendez and cardiologist Barbara Pisani, DO, co-directors of the Advanced Heart Failure, Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at Rush, will discuss heart failure prevention, management and treatment in a public event at the medical center.

"It is intended to be a comprehensive overview of state-of-the-art care for advanced heart failure," Mendez says.

Pisani will discuss various medical treatments available for heart failure, including drug therapies, while Mendez will address the use of devices such as biventricular pacemakers or implantable cardioverter defibrillators.

Mendez says the goal of the event is to inform the public about the role and application of high-tech devices used to treat heart failure.

While heart transplants may be necessary for some patients, they're hardly the only solution for a failing heart.

"We do certainly use transplants when appropriate, but we also have multiple other interventions for heart failure," he says.

Leading causes of heart failure include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Warning signs may include sudden weight gain, shortness of breath unrelated to exertion, swelling of the legs or ankles, trouble sleeping, and a frequent hacking cough, according to the American Heart Association.

Steps you can take to avoid heart failure including not smoking, being physically active, losing weight if you are overweight, controlling high blood pressure, and following a heart-healthy diet.


More Information at Your Fingertips:
  • "Heart Failure: Prevention and Management" starts at 6 p.m. on June 17. Register now.
  • Learn more about Rush's heart and vascular programs.
  • Looking for information on other health topics? Visit our Health Information home page.
  • Looking for a doctor? Call toll free: 888 352-RUSH (888 352-7874)

Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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