Heart failure diagnosis: Not a death sentence

GLENN ELLIS | 5/8/2018, 11:49 p.m.
Heart Failure is a scary term
How the heart works graphic Stock photo

• Stage B: This diagnosis is also early in the progression of heart failure. It means you already have some changes to the heart that could lead to heart failure. Your heart health also might be compromised because of blood pressure, but you don’t have classic symptoms of heart failure, yet. These people typically may have had a prior heart attack or they have some heart valve disease. Treatments could include those from stage A, as well as possible surgery or intervention as treatment for coronary artery blockage, heart attack, or valve disease.

• Stage C: Individuals at this stage have been diagnosed with heart failure, and currently have or have previously had signs and symptoms of the condition, including shortness of breath, inability to exercise, swelling of their legs, or waking up short of breath after lying down.

Cardiac rehabilitation can help people with stage C heart failure recover everyday functions and help them live longer lives and reduce symptoms.

• Stage D: This is an advanced stage of heart failure and these patients are the sickest. People with this stage of heart failure should see a specialist to help determine the best course of treatment and which options are still on the table. It’s critical that they see a specialist within a few days of someone telling them they have stage D heart failure.

Regardless of the “stage” of heart failure, it is a chronic, long-term heart health condition that can get worse over time. But the sooner you begin making lifestyle changes to treat the condition, the better outcomes you can expect.

Remember, I’m not a doctor. I just sound like one.

Take good care of yourself and live the best life possible!


The information included in this column is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Glenn Ellis is a Health Advocacy Communications Specialist and is available through http://www.glennellis.com.