How Quickly Does Heart Failure Progress?

Six million people in the United States over the age of 20 have heart failure. Although the name sounds ominous, it doesn’t mean they will die next month or even next year. Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart does not pump enough blood and oxygen for the body to function properly. It is a long-term condition and the leading cause of hospitalizations for those over age 65. How quickly does heart failure progress?

Unpredictable Progression

Heart failure doesn’t mean your heart has stopped working. You may have heard the other term, namely congestive heart failure. Yes, a congestive heart failure diagnosis is serious, but it is not necessarily a death sentence. 

It’s impossible to predict how the condition will progress on an singular basis. Some patients remain stable for many years, while others can get worse rather quickly. In the past if you were diagnosed with heart failure, you were expected to only live 3 or 4 years. Now the chances of stalling or reversing this condition are better, especially with those patients that seek early medical treatment.

Although treatment advancements are constantly being made, 50% of patients will die within 5 years. Those with advanced cases will pass away within 1 year, however, if the condition is at a moderate stage, you can live for 10 years. This is precisely why getting early treatment from an expert like the board-certified cardiologists at New Jersey Cardiology Associates can preserve your life. 

What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

Risk factors for heart disease include:

  • being over age 65
  • smoking and using drugs or alcohol
  • having a sedentary lifestyle
  • consuming too much salt and fat
  • high blood pressure
  • coronary artery disease
  • having a family history
  • having had a heart attack

Pay attention to the above risk factors and note any symptoms you may have. This can give you a head start on seeing New Jersey Cardiology Associates for an evaluation and an early diagnosis.

Know the Symptoms of Heart Disease

The common symptoms of heart disease include the following:

  • Shortness of breath, including at night
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea and no appetite
  • A bloated, hard stomach
  • Swelling in your ankles, legs, and stomach
  • Dry hacking cough
  • Weight gain
  • Urinating at night

These symptoms can be mild or severe and even come and go.

What Are the Treatments for Heart Failure?

There are three kinds of treatments a cardiologist may recommend for your heart failure condition.

  1. Beta blockers which block adrenaline production which can damage the heart
  2. ACE inhibitors that help to lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels
  3. Aldosterone inhibitors that block a hormone that promotes heart failure by triggering salt and fluid retention

Once a patient combines these three meds with some lifestyle changes like lowering salt intake, the heart can begin to get stronger.

Contact New Jersey Cardiology Associates if you suspect you may have symptoms of heart failure or heart disease. Call your preferred location directly, or request an appointment through our secure online form. We have cardiology clinics in West Orange, Toms River, Belleville, and Clifton.