Heart Failure

You are being treated for heart failure. The information in this quick guide will help you better understand heart failure. This guide also includes things that you and your health care team can do together to help you feel better. The goal of your treatment is to make you feel better and make you live longer. By following your lifestyle and medicine plan, your quality of life should improve. Your heart may even work better.

Allina Health patient education manual

heart failure manual thumbnail

Heart Failure

Although heart failure cannot be cured, it can be managed through diet, exercise and medicine. That is why Allina Health experts developed this guide to living and succeeding with heart failure.

Your heart is a muscle. Its main “job” is to pump blood rich in oxygen and nutrients through blood vessels in your body. All cells in your body need oxygen to survive. Many people who have been in the hospital for heart problems want to learn more about how their heart works and what went wrong.

Chapter 1: Your Heart and Heart Failure

Taking your medicines as directed is very important. They may help you feel better and help your heart work with less stress. You will need to take medicines for the rest of your life, unless your doctor gives you other directions.

Chapter 2: Medicines

Your food choices are important. How? A diet low in sodium (salt) can improve your heart health.

Chapter 3: Sodium (Salt) and Diet

Medicine may not be enough to help your heart or prevent serious problems. Your health care provider will talk with you about your other treatment options.

Chapter 4: Other Treatments

Regular exercise is important to strengthen your muscles, including your heart. If you are new to exercise, getting into an exercise routine can be a challenge. Stick with it! After a few days or weeks you may begin to see or feel positive changes.

Chapter 5: Exercise and Activity

Tobacco use is especially dangerous to your blood vessels and arteries. It can cause atherosclerosis, a build-up of plaque (fatty substances found in your blood). Over time, the plaque hardens and narrows your blood vessels and arteries. It also makes the blood vessels and arteries sticky. This means that your blood can’t flow easily.

Chapter 6: Tobacco Use

Use the glossary to look up unfamiliar words.

Chapter 7: Glossary

Take a heart failure quiz and fill out worksheets.

Chapter 8: Quiz and Worksheets

Patient education videos

Explore the video library for trusted, easy-to-understand health and wellness education. View video library heart failure topics.

What is Heart Failure?

Read video transcript.

Living with Heart Failure

Read video transcript.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Failure, fifth edition, 1-931876-31-2
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 10/05/2021