Successful heart treatment does not always mean surgery. If your life is being affected by a heart condition, the experienced heart care team at HCA Midwest Health can often diagnose, treat and manage your condition using a variety of non-interventional cardiology treatment options. Non-interventional cardiology uses tests and treatments, such as medication management, that do not involve invasive procedures to address your heart condition.
Living with a heart condition does not have to be debilitating. Congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are three conditions that are often treated with non-interventional methods. With non-interventional cardiology, you can improve your health and often avoid the need for invasive procedures.
Congestive Heart Failure
A condition that progressively worsens over time, congestive heart failure (CHF) occurs when fluid builds up around the heart and prohibits normal function. Your doctor may prescribe medications as a non-interventional treatment option for CHF, such as:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) can open up narrowed blood vessels and help improve blood flow.
- Beta-blockers can help reduce blood pressure and slow a fast heartbeat.
- Diuretics can be used to reduce the amount of fluid your body retains; increased water retention is a common effect of CHF.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Hypertension—or high blood pressure—occurs when the strong force of the blood pumping against your artery walls could lead to heart problems over time. Non-interventional treatments for hypertension include:
- Lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, quitting smoking and eating a diet low in salt, can help lower your blood pressure.
- Diuretics—also called water pills—help your kidneys eliminate excess sodium and water from your blood, which helps to reduce your overall blood volume.
- Beta-blockers can help to open your blood vessels, which can cause your heart to beat more slowly and with less force.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) help relax blood vessels by blocking the formation of a natural chemical that narrows the blood vessels.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) block the action of a natural chemical that narrows the blood vessels.
- Calcium channel blockers help relax the muscles of your blood vessels; some of them also help to slow the heart rate.
- Renin inhibitors slow down the production of renin, an enzyme produced by the kidneys that kicks off a process that raises blood pressure.
If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you may meet with a lipidologist, a doctor who specializes in the assessment and treatment of cholesterol in the blood. When possible, your doctor will recommend non-interventional methods to treat high cholesterol. Such treatments may include one or more of the following:
- Lifestyle changes may include exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet low in cholesterol-containing foods.
- Statins are a very commonly prescribed class of medication for high cholesterol. This type of medication blocks a substance your liver needs to produce cholesterol, which causes your liver to remove cholesterol from your blood.
- The liver needs cholesterol to produce bile acids, which your body needs for digestion. Bile-acid-binding resins lower cholesterol indirectly by binding to bile acids. In effect, your liver uses excess cholesterol to make more bile acids and the level of cholesterol in your blood is reduced.
- The small intestine absorbs the cholesterol from your diet and releases it into your bloodstream. Cholesterol absorption inhibitors limit the body’s absorption of dietary cholesterol, which, in turn, reduces the cholesterol level in your blood.
- Injectable medications are typically administered at home once or twice a month and help the liver absorb more LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which lowers the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood.
In addition to the medications listed above for the treatment of specific conditions, your heart care specialist may recommend other pharmaceutical management of other heart conditions, as a part of your non-interventional care. Speak with your doctor to develop your individualized treatment plan.