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Sentara Advanced Heart Failure Program
About Heart Failure
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Medications are used to improve the heart's ability to pump blood, decrease stress on the heart, decrease the progression of heart failure and prevent fluid retention. Many heart failure medications are used to decrease the release of harmful hormones. These drugs will cause blood vessels to dilate or relax and lower blood pressure.

The following are the main medicines for treating heart failure.

   Help reduce fluid buildup in the lungs and swelling in feet and ankles.

ACE inhibitors
   Lower blood pressure and reduce strain on the heart.

Aldosterone antagonists
   Trigger the body to get rid of salt and water through urine, which lowers the volume of blood that the heart must pump.

Angiotensin receptor blockers
   Relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure, so the heart doesn't have to work as hard.

Beta blockers
   Slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure to decrease the workload on the heart.

Isosorbide dinitrate/hydralazine hydrochloride
   Helps relax blood vessels, so your heart doesn't work as hard to pump blood.

   Makes the heart beat stronger and pump more blood.

Some people with very severe heart failure receive IV medications. Patients also may receive extra oxygen if they have trouble breathing. The extra oxygen can be given in the hospital and at home.

Learn more about managing your heart failure medications from the American Heart Association. 

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