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Thriving with Heart Failure: One Woman’s Advice - GymFitly - Health and Fitness

Thriving with Heart Failure: One Woman’s Advice

More than 6 million people in the U.S. are living with heart failure, including Angel, a 56-year-old mother of three from Charleston, SC. Symptoms are different for everyone, but before her diagnosis Angel was often short of breath. Something as simple as turning over in bed at night made her feel like she would suffocate, and what should have been a happy family moment became scary for Angel and her family.

“We were so excited to take my daughter on college tours, but a big wakeup call came during one visit when walking up a flight of stairs left me feeling like my heart was going to explode,” recalled Angel. “That’s when I knew I had to take action and see a doctor.”

Heart failure represents a significant, growing disease burden in the U.S., with more than 8 million cases expected by 2030. It is becoming increasingly prevalent due to the aging population. If you’ve recently been diagnosed, consider the following tips from Angel that can help you to thrive with heart failure:

  • Knowledge is Power: After her diagnosis, Angel struggled to find information or support for people living with her specific type of heart failure, called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).

    Angel suggests that others should “do your research and speak up. I was shocked to learn that HFpEF is predicted to become the most common type of heart failure in the U.S., and I struggled to come to terms with what the diagnosis meant for me and my family. Knowledge is power, and the more research I did, the more confident and empowered I felt advocating for my care.”

  • Do the Work: “I learned that there’s no quick fix for people living with heart failure, but there are ways to feel your best. Work with your doctor to figure out how you can best manage your overall health,” she says.

    For Angel, who is also living with type 2 diabetes, that meant going to cardiac rehab – which is a combination of exercise and education designed to improve heart health – adjusting her diet, and taking a medication called Jardiance® (empagliflozin) that is approved to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death in adults with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular disease. Just recently, Jardiance was approved to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and hospitalization for heart failure in adults with heart failure.

  • Connect with Others: Navigating life with heart failure can be difficult physically, emotionally, and mentally. “My family is very supportive, but it was also important to me to connect with others living with heart failure, and it’s had such a positive impact on my outlook. I encourage others to find a group that fits their support needs,” Angel says.

    Find an advocacy organization that can connect you with your peers and also offer education and resources to help you through your journey.

Talk to your doctor about symptoms of heart failure you may be experiencing, and about available treatment options like Jardiance, or visit for additional information.


JARDIANCE is a prescription medicine used to:

  • reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and hospitalization for heart failure in adults with heart failure, when the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of your body
  • reduce the risk of cardiovascular death in adults with type 2 diabetes who also have known cardiovascular disease
  • lower blood sugar along with diet and exercise in adults with type 2 diabetes

JARDIANCE is not for people with type 1 diabetes. It may increase their risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (increased ketones in the blood or urine).

JARDIANCE is not for use to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes who have severe kidney problems, because it may not work.


Do not take
JARDIANCE if you are allergic to empagliflozin or any of the ingredients in JARDIANCE.

Do not take JARDIANCE if you are on dialysis.

JARDIANCE can cause serious side effects, including:

    • take medicines to lower your blood pressure, including water pills (diuretics)
    • are on a low salt diet
    • have kidney problems
    • are 65 years of age or older

Talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do to prevent dehydration, including how much fluid you should drink on a daily basis, and if you reduce the amount of food or liquid you drink, if you are sick or cannot eat, or start to lose liquids from your body from vomiting, diarrhea, or being in the sun too long.

  • Serious urinary tract infections. Serious urinary tract infections can occur in people taking JARDIANCE and may lead to hospitalization. Tell your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection, such as a burning feeling when passing urine, a need to urinate often or right away, pain in the lower part of your stomach or pelvis, or blood in the urine. Sometimes people also may have a fever, back pain, nausea or vomiting.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia): If you take JARDIANCE with another medicine that can cause low blood sugar, such as sulfonylurea or insulin, your risk of low blood sugar is higher. The dose of your sulfonylurea or insulin may need to be lowered. Symptoms of low blood sugar may include:
    • headache
    • drowsiness
    • weakness
    • dizziness
    • confusion
    • irritability
    • hunger
    • fast heartbeat
    • sweating
    • shaking or feeling jittery
  • Necrotizing fasciitis. A rare but serious bacterial infection that causes damage to the tissue under the skin in the area between and around your anus and genitals (perineum). This bacterial infection has happened in women and men who take JARDIANCE, and may lead to hospitalization, multiple surgeries, and death. Seek medical attention immediately if you have fever or are feeling very weak, tired or uncomfortable (malaise), and you develop any of the following symptoms in the area between and around your anus and genitals: pain or tenderness, swelling, and redness of skin (erythema).
  • Vaginal yeast infection. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have vaginal odor, white or yellowish vaginal discharge (discharge may be lumpy or look like cottage cheese), and/or vaginal itching.
  • Yeast infection of the penis. Swelling of an uncircumcised penis may develop that makes it difficult to pull back the skin around the tip of the penis. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have redness, itching or swelling of the penis, rash of the penis, foul smelling discharge from the penis, and/or pain in the skin around the penis.
    Talk to your healthcare provider about what to do if you get symptoms of a yeast infection of the vagina or penis. Your healthcare provider may suggest you use an over-the-counter antifungal medicine. Talk to your healthcare provider right away if you use an over-the-counter antifungal medication and your symptoms do not go away.
  • Allergic (hypersensitivity) reactions. Symptoms of serious allergic reactions to JARDIANCE may include:
    • swelling of your face, lips, throat, and other areas of your skin
    • difficulty with swallowing or breathing
    • raised, red areas on your skin (hives)

If you have any of these symptoms, stop taking JARDIANCE and contact your healthcare provider or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

The most common side effects of JARDIANCE include urinary tract infections and yeast infections in females.

These are not all the possible side effects of JARDIANCE. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Before taking JARDIANCE, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have kidney problems
  • have liver problems
  • have a history of infection of the vagina or penis
  • have a history of urinary tract infections or problems with urination
  • are going to have surgery. Your healthcare provider may stop your JARDIANCE before you have surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are having surgery about when to stop taking JARDIANCE and when to start it again
  • are eating less or there is a change in your diet
  • have or have had problems with your pancreas, including pancreatitis or surgery on your pancreas
  • drink alcohol very often, or drink a lot of alcohol in the short term (“binge” drinking)
  • have type 1 diabetes. JARDIANCE should not be used to treat people with type 1 diabetes
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. JARDIANCE may harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant during treatment with JARDIANCE
  • are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed. JARDIANCE may pass into your breast milk and may harm your baby. Do not breastfeed while taking JARDIANCE

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take water pills (diuretics) or medicines that can lower your blood sugar, such as insulin.

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

For more information, please see Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.


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