Frequently Asked Questions About Heart Failure


How do I know if I have heart failure?

The symptoms of heart failure may be caused by other illnesses, so it is important to see your doctor to determine what is causing your discomfort. Your doctor will run various tests to determine if you have heart failure. Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Feeling tired
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Fast heart rate


When should I call a doctor?

You should call a doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and they are not going away.


How is heart failure treated?

Heart failure is treated through a combination of lifestyle changes, medication, and, if necessary, surgery. At NewYork-Presbyterian, we evaluate each patient thoroughly to determine what treatments work best. We offer the most advanced therapies, based on the latest medical research.


Are beta-blockers safe for heart patients?

Yes. Beta-blockers are used to treat congestive heart failure by reducing blood pressure and slowing rapid heart rate. Your doctor may prescribe a very low dose at first and increase the dosage over time until you find the dosage that works best for you. People who are on beta-blockers have reported some side effects, including dizziness and feeling tired. Contact your doctor immediately if you feel faint, pass out, experience increased shortness of breath, or have other symptoms that bother you. Suddenly stopping beta-blockers can make your symptoms worse. Don't stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor.


How can I live longer with heart failure?

Generally, the tips for living a long healthy life with heart failure are the same as those for everyone else:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid excessive alcohol use
  • Avoid smoking
  • Manage your stress
  • Visit your doctor regularly
  • Take medications as prescribed

Contact Us

Call for an Appointment

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center ‒ Milstein Family Heart Center

Heart Failure & Transplantation Program

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center ‒ Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute

Heart Failure Program

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