A prognosis for heart failure is variable depending on several factors, including diet, infections or other illnesses, the presence of angina, medication and the occurrence of a heart attack, says MedlinePlus. Heart failure is usually a chronic disease that worsens over time, and severe heart failure cannot be treated.
Heart failure can be controlled by lifestyle changes, medication, and treating underlying conditions, explains MedlinePlus. People with heart failure should maintain a healthy weight, refrain from smoking and too much alcohol, remain active, lower cholesterol and get adequate rest. Medicines that perform functions such as controlling damage to the heart, improving blood flow and replacing potassium are prescribed to keep heart failure from becoming worse. Coronary artery disease and uncontrolled high blood pressure are the two most common causes of heart failure, but other conditions such as infections, leaky valves, a malfunctioning thyroid and emphysema can lead to heart failure.
Doctors treat heart failure with coronary bypass surgery to increase blood flow in the heart, or heart valve surgery if a damaged valve is the issue, states MedlinePlus. A pacemaker is used to help with slow heart rates. In cases where heart failure causes abnormal heart rhythms, a defibrillator may be implanted. When heart failure progresses to a severe stage, a heart transplant is required. People waiting for a transplant can be given an intra-aortic balloon pump or a left ventricular assist device.