Living with Heart Failure

Lifestyle Changes

Diet, exercise and other healthy habits can help control symptoms of heart failure and improve your overall health and well-being. You can reverse some forms of heart failure by reducing salt and fluids from your body. If you have a chronic form, we help you establish healthy habits of diet and exercise so that you can live a full life.

    The following lifestyle changes can help:

    • Avoid alcohol
    • Quit smoking
    • Work with your doctor to develop an exercise program
    • Lose weight (if necessary)
    • Eat a healthy diet that's low in fat and salt, and high in fiber
    • Manage your stress
    • Fluid restrictions (in some patients)

    Taking Your Medication

    Medications help reduce the work of your heart and may help your heart beat stronger. 

    It's important to fill your prescriptions regularly without missing a dose. Even if you feel better, don't stop taking medicine without talking to your healthcare provider.

    Support for Heart Failure Patients

    Heart Health at Home

    This free program provides follow-up care and support for patients recently discharged from the hospital.

    Certified nursing assistants who specialize in cardiac care visit you Monday through Saturday for the first five days after discharge and return two or three days a week throughout your first month at home.

    After the first month, your at-home care team sets up visits on an as-needed basis.

    To be eligible for this program, you must live within 60 miles of Charlottesville.

    Device Implants

    We treat heart failure with a variety of implanted heart devices. These devices may help you manage your heart failure or may be a step on your way to a heart transplant. Treatment of heart failure with medical device may include:

    • Implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICD)

    • Cardiac resynchronization therapy

    • Intra-aortic balloon pump

    • Ventricular assist devices (VADs)

    • CardioMEMS