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Manage Heart Failure With Lifestyle

Having heart failure can leave you feeling out control. But through diet, exercise, and self-monitoring you can make a real difference in both your symptoms and your outlook.

Preventing Worsening of Heart Failure continued...

He suggests that those who are concerned about worsening heart failure should talk to their doctors and, if possible, try to get a complete workup at a center that specializes in treating heart conditions.

"Although specialty centers are still rare, I believe that this is the potential future of cardiovascular care in our country," says Cohn. "We have to detect it early and treat it aggressively."

For now, Bennett believes that doctors need to make sure they give patients concrete advice about diet and other lifestyle changes they need to make. "It's not enough to say, 'Take it easy,' or, 'Watch your salt,' or, 'Try to walk more,'" she says. "People need more specific information."

While heart failure remains a very serious and dangerous disease, people diagnosed with it have good reason for hope.

"The one message that I think is worth getting across is that the current management of heart failure is far better than people think," says Cohn. "Every paper on the management of heart failure starts out with an obligatory statement about how terrible a disease it is and how bad the prognosis is. But that's really wrong. The prognosis is now quite good and so much better than it once was."

Originally published May 2003.

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