First Coast Heart & Vascular Heart Failure Program
Finding out you have heart failure can be hard. You may not understand all the information given to you and you may have a lot of questions. The Heart Failure Program at First Coast Heart and Vascular Center is here to give you and your family the support you need. With education and coaching, our goal is to help you learn to manage your symptoms every day so you can feel better, do better, and improve your quality of life.
Our team of experienced cardiologists, nurse practitioners, and nurses work together to give excellent, individualized care.
Although heart failure is a serious condition, with the right treatments and plan, it can be successfully managed. We will help you take charge of your health, so you can lead a full and productive life.
For appointments & questions call: 904.618.2630
Our Heart Failure Program offers:
- Video appointments, for your convenience.
- Personalized treatment plans, which consider your personal needs and goals.
- Expert support, from clinicians who have experience in helping patients with heart failure.
- One-on-one health coaching, to assist you with starting and following heart healthy habits. Topics include learning the right foods to eat, how to manage fluid intake, how to include an exercise routine, and other things you can do to stay well.
- Medication management, to ensure you are on the right medications for you. The team regularly checks if medications are reducing symptoms, improving heart function and potentially slowing progression of the disease.
- Remote monitoring, with scales and blood pressure cuffs sent to your home. Any changes to your health can be quickly seen to help and prevent symptoms from worsening.
What are the symptoms of heart failure?
Heart failure symptoms usually develop over time. Common symptoms can include:
- Feeling weak or tired
- Swelling of the legs, ankles, feet or belly
- Shortness of breath with normal daily activities or when lying down
- Racing or fast heartbeat
- Nausea, bloating or poor appetite
What can I do to manage heart failure?
The sooner heart failure is diagnosed and treated, the greater chance you will have a better quality of life. Taking care of the big picture, plus the heart, can help your heart be as healthy as it can be, for as long as possible. Doing this typically requires a combination of medications and healthy lifestyle choices.
The medications given for heart failure help you two ways. They impact the heart function to make it work better so you can comfortably do more activities. Remember it is important to take your medications as prescribed. A daily or weekly pillbox can help keep them organized.
Diet, Exercise and Lifestyle
When you have heart failure, it is important to also talk about diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes. A few small changes can have a big impact on how you feel now and in the future. They can also potentially slow down progression of the disease.
Our team at the Heart Failure Program works with many patients who are trying to make these changes to support their heart health. We are happy to provide assistance and guide you on this journey, too.
Heart healthy lifestyle choices include:
- Eating a heart healthy, nutritious diet.
- Limiting sodium, or salt, in the diet.
- You may need to drink less fluids.
- Exercising regularly. Staying physically active can strengthen the heart and help keep you strong and flexible to participate in activities you enjoy. As a bonus, exercise also boosts your mood!
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. This can help lower blood pressure and help the heart not have to work as hard to pump blood around the body.
- Limiting alcohol.
- Quitting smoking. We know that smoking damages the blood vessels, raises the heart rate and blood pressure, and lowers the oxygen level in the blood. Giving up smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your heart health.
- Reducing stress. Stress is a part of life, but too much can have bad effects on the body. Meditation, yoga and other forms of exercise can help lower stress.
- Getting enough sleep each night. This is just as important in taking care of your whole body.
How does remote monitoring help with heart failure?
When you participate in the Heart Failure Program, you may be provided with devices such as a scale and blood pressure cuff. They are sent to your home to monitor your vital signs remotely. These devices can help us notice potential problems or slight changes to your health early. When we do, we are able to make adjustments and offer you treatments while you are still at home. Taking action quickly can prevent symptoms from getting worse and helps you avoid needing to go to the hospital.
Advanced Comprehensive Cardiology Care
For some people with heart failure, they may need advanced or interventional therapies. There are many procedures and surgeries available that may be discussed. Since the heart failure team works closely with your board-certified cardiologists at First Coast Heart and Vascular, together they can help guide and educate you. Our expert team of physicians specialize in diagnostic imaging, interventional cardiology, endovascular medicine, and electrophysiology. With experience in treating routine and complex cases of heart failure, they can offer you comprehensive treatment options.
For appointments & questions call: 904.618.2630
Want to know more about heart failure?
To learn more about heart failure and how to live with it, we recommend these trusted sites.
- American Heart Association
- Heart Failure Society of America
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Million Hearts
- Heart Failure Matters, from the European Society of Cardiology. Heart failure information is available in 10 languages.