“Is my asthma kicking up again?” That’s what Chris wondered when she began experiencing symptoms in August 2017.
“I couldn’t breathe,” she recalls. “We’d gone on vacations, hiking, that kind of thing. I just thought it was my asthma just acting up again.”
It took more than six months before she received the diagnosis that would change her life. By that point, her symptoms had worsened, and she was admitted to the ER while on a work trip. There, she learned that it wasn’t her asthma, but rather she had a certain type of long-lasting heart failure—heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, a condition that can change the structure of your heart so it doesn’t work as well.
More than 6 million people in the U.S. have a form of heart failure
Chris’ story is all too common. Of those suffering from the condition, about half have the same form as Chris. Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition that can lead to repeated hospitalizations if not treated properly.
In fact, every 2 minutes in the U.S., someone is hospitalized due to heart failure symptoms, and a heart failure hospitalization is a sign the condition is worsening.
Heart failure can take a great toll on patients and their families, and telling her children about her diagnosis and hospitalization was very challenging for Chris. “I was scared about what having heart failure would mean for my future,” Chris said. “But I knew I wanted to be strong for my children.”
Fortunately, for many people, heart failure can be managed successfully with a heart-healthy diet, physical activity and medications, like ENTRESTO® (sacubitril/valsartan), a therapy prescribed by most cardiologists that helps to improve the heart’s ability to pump blood to the body for people with a certain type of long-lasting heart failure.
Staying out of the hospital
Heart failure hospitalizations are a hallmark of disease progression. After a patient is hospitalized for heart failure, about one in four is re-hospitalized, and up to one in ten is likely to die in the next 30 days.
Because of the seriousness of a hospitalization, a goal is to manage heart failure as soon as it is recognized so that patients can reduce their chances of a hospital stay.
Chris has partnered with her health care provider and learned many things, like following a low-salt diet and incorporating physical activity into her routine. She is now working again and enjoying time with her grandchildren, and she hasn’t been back to the hospital for her condition since.
ENTRESTO is the only medicine proven superior at helping people stay alive and out of the hospital longer compared to a commonly used heart failure medicine. ENTRESTO can be started in or out of the hospital.
Three leading heart expert groups (the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the Heart Failure Society of America) have recommended ENTRESTO to reduce the risk of heart failure hospitalization and cardiovascular death.
Know the symptoms—and take action
Looking back on it, Chris says she had been ignoring other symptoms for a few months leading up to her diagnosis. For instance, she attributed swollen ankles to being on an airplane.
Common symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, swelling of the feet, legs and/or ankles and fatigue. Sometimes, they also include confusion, coughing, and nausea, or lack of appetite.
Other signs, such as increased difficulty in everyday activities like making the bed, doing household chores, or walking to the mailbox, can be easy to miss or write off as something else, like getting older.
Chris encourages others to take charge of their health. “Don’t ignore the little voice in your head telling you something isn’t right with your body, even if you are afraid,” she says. “It’s better to be safe and speak to your health care provider about what you are experiencing.”
Don’t let a diagnosis define you
Chris was determined not to let her diagnosis keep her from doing the things she loves. She urges others with heart failure to stay positive. “I’ve chosen not to surround myself by negativity,” she says. “It’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to be worried. But it’s also important to remember that heart failure is just one part of your life, and there are ways to manage it.”
Chris is now focusing on the factors of her life she can control, including eating foods low in salt, getting her steps in, and taking her medications, including ENTRESTO.
Quitting smoking, losing or maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and getting enough rest can also help improve overall health.
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms or worsening of heart failure symptoms, speak with a health care provider as soon as possible. For more information about managing heart failure, visit ENTRESTO.com.
What is ENTRESTO?
ENTRESTO is a prescription medicine used to reduce the risk of death and hospitalization in adults with long-lasting (chronic) heart failure. ENTRESTO is usually used with other heart failure therapies, in place of an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or other angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) therapy.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
What is the most important information I should know about ENTRESTO? ENTRESTO can harm or cause death to your unborn baby. Talk to your doctor about other ways to treat heart failure if you plan to become pregnant. If you get pregnant while taking ENTRESTO, tell your doctor right away.
Who should not take ENTRESTO?
Do not take ENTRESTO if you
- are allergic to sacubitril or valsartan or any of the ingredients in ENTRESTO
- have had an allergic reaction including swelling of your face, lips, tongue, throat (angioedema) or trouble breathing while taking a type of medicine called an ACE inhibitor or ARB
- take an ACE inhibitor medicine. Do not take ENTRESTO for at least 36 hours before or after you take an ACE inhibitor medicine. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking ENTRESTO if you are not sure if you take an ACE inhibitor medicine
- have diabetes and take a medicine that contains aliskiren
What should I tell my doctor before taking ENTRESTO?
Before you take ENTRESTO, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, including if you have kidney or liver problems or a history of hereditary angioedema; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant; are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. You should either take ENTRESTO or breastfeed. You should not do both.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take potassium supplements or a salt substitute; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); lithium; or other medicines for high blood pressure or heart problems such as an ACE inhibitor, ARB, or aliskiren.
What are the possible side effects of ENTRESTO?
ENTRESTO may cause serious side effects including:
- angioedema that may cause trouble breathing and death. Get emergency medical help right away if you have symptoms of angioedema or trouble breathing. Do not take ENTRESTO again if you have had angioedema while taking ENTRESTO. People who are Black or who have had angioedema and take ENTRESTO may have a higher risk of having angioedema
- low blood pressure (hypotension). Call your doctor if you become dizzy or lightheaded, or you develop extreme fatigue
- kidney problems
- increased amount of potassium in your blood
The most common side effects were low blood pressure, high potassium, cough, dizziness, and kidney problems.
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.
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