What is heart failure?
Heart failure is a serious illness, but with the right treatment and careful management, you can control your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Many conditions can cause heart failure, including coronary artery disease, a past heart attack, high blood pressure or heart valve disease.
When you have heart failure, your heart’s pumping power is weaker than normal, or the heart muscles are stiff and do not relax and fill properly. Your blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate, which then increases the pressure in the heart. When this happens, your heart cannot pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet your body’s needs. The chambers of the heart respond by stretching to hold more blood to pump through the body. This helps to keep the blood moving for a short while, but then the heart muscle walls weaken and are not able to pump as strongly.
Your kidneys often respond by causing your body to retain fluid (water) and sodium. If fluid builds up in your arms, legs, ankles, feet, lungs or other organs, your body becomes congested. Congestive heart failure is the term used to describe this condition.
How the Mercyhealth Heart Failure Clinic can help
The dedicated team at the Mercyhealth Heart Failure Clinic uses advanced testing, specialized treatments and individualized support and education to develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Our staff works closely with your primary care provider to keep them fully apprised of your progress.
As a patient, you will periodically have tests to evaluate the function of your heart, your overall fitness level and other relevant information about your health. These tests may include EKGs, echocardiograms, stress tests, blood tests and electrophysiology studies. Interventional cardiology, cardiac catheterization, and pacemaker and defibrillator placement services are also available, as needed.
We also provide individualized education and lifestyle counseling with you and your family members that includes:
- Medication counseling
- Recognizing and managing symptoms of congestive heart failure
- Dietary counseling
- Lifestyle advice
- Daily monitoring of your condition at home
- When to follow up with your primary care provider and when to seek emergency help
With the right care, heart failure will not stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your outlook for the future will depend on how well your heart muscle is functioning, your symptoms, and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan. Together, we will work to improve your symptoms and help your heart work as efficiently as possible.
How to get started
After the Mercyhealth Heart Failure Clinic team has received your referral to our program from your primary care provider, a team member will contact you to schedule your first appointment.
At the appointment, we discuss your health history and any concerns you and your family members have. We then work together to create an individualized treatment and education plan.
Additional appointments will be scheduled as needed to help you manage your condition. We will continue to provide you with follow-up care as long as you need it. Our goal is to help you live well with heart failure.
For more information, call (608) 756-6868. In Rockford, call (815) 971-2200.