Ignoring heart failure symptoms won’t make them go away

Heart failure (HF) is a progressive disease. That means that it gets worse over time. Early diagnosis and treatment can help people with HF live longer, more active lives. Ignoring any HF symptoms you may have, like shortness of breath or feeling tired all the time, won’t make them go away. They’ll only get worse.1

The goals of treatment for any stage of HF include2

  • Treating any other conditions you may have in addition to HF (eg, high blood pressure or diabetes)
  • Reducing symptoms
  • Slowing the progression of HF
  • Living longer and improving quality of life

To get the most out of your HF management plan, you need to start making some lifestyle changes. It's never too late to add healthier habits—or lose an unhealthy one. Many of the steps you can take to prevent HF are the same ones that can help keep HF from getting worse and putting you out of action.2

It's okay to start with baby steps. Park a little further from the door today or walk to catch the bus at the next stop. Skip the fast-food joint for lunch. If you smoke, cut down or quit for just 1 day.2 Then commit yourself to doing more the next day, and the next, working toward what your doctor recommends.

Most importantly, don't be shy about asking for help when you need it. Friends and family members will often jump at the chance to lend a helping hand if you ask. Special counselors are available to help you make every one of these changes easier. Your doctor or nurse can help you find one. Check your local newspaper for a listing of classes or support group meetings in your area.

Remember: Simple changes can help you feel better. The sooner you start, the better off you’re likely to be.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Tell your doctor about any allergies you have, especially if you're sensitive to nitrates, such as nitroglycerin tablets or isosorbide dinitrate (Isordil®). BiDil has a nitrate component, so you need to let your doctor know.

Tell your doctor if you're taking any erectile dysfunction or pulmonary hypertension drugs like Viagra® or Revatio(sildenafil), Levitra® (vardenafil) or Cialis® (tadalafil).

Information for Patients about BiDil® (isosorbide dinitrate/hydralazine HCl)

BiDil is approved for use with other heart medicines to treat heart failure in black patients to improve survival, improve heart failure symptoms, and help patients stay out of the hospital longer. There is little experience in patients with heart failure who experience significant symptoms while at rest. Most patients in the clinical study of BiDil also received other heart failure medicines.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Tell your doctor about any allergies you have, especially if you're sensitive to nitrates, such as nitroglycerin tablets or isosorbide dinitrate (Isordil®). BiDil has a nitrate component, so you need to let your doctor know.

Tell your doctor if you're taking any erectile dysfunction or pulmonary hypertension drugs like Viagra® or Revatio(sildenafil), Levitra® (vardenafil) or Cialis® (tadalafil).

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Also tell your doctor if you are taking any medication to decrease blood pressure because when taken with BiDil, blood pressure may become too low.

It is possible you'll get headaches, especially at first, but they often lessen over time. Keep your doctor posted on your headache progress; he or she may want to adjust your dosage.

If you experience dizziness, call your doctor. Please make sure to tell your doctor about any of the signs or symptoms mentioned below or about any unusual events that worry you.

Drinking less fluids than your doctor recommends or losing fluid due to diarrhea, sweating, or vomiting may cause low blood pressure, lightheadedness, or fainting. If fainting occurs, stop taking BiDil and contact your doctor immediately.

Lightheadedness may occur when standing, especially after sitting or lying down.

If you experience any achy and/or swollen joints, unexplained fever for more than a few days, skin rashes, chest pain, prolonged weakness or fatigue (even after a good night's sleep), or any other unexplained signs or symptoms, make sure to tell your doctor as they may be signs of a serious medical condition.

You may also experience rapid heartbeat that could lead to chest pain or aggravate chest pain, or numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.

COMMON SIDE EFFECTS

Headache and dizziness were the most frequent side effects experienced in studies with BiDil.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please click here to see full Prescribing Information for BiDil. This information does not take the place of talking with your healthcare provider about your condition or your treatment. Ask your doctor if BiDil may be right for you.

References: 1. American Heart Association. About heart failure. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/AboutHeartFailure/About-Heart-Failure_UCM_002044_Article.jsp. Updated April 6, 2015. Accessed August 19, 2015. 2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. How is heart failure treated? http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hf/treatment. Updated March 27, 2014. Accessed August 18, 2015.