Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

About 5 million people in the United States have some form of heart failure, and nearly 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. The risk of developing heart failure increases with age, and it is estimated that one out of every 10 people over the age of 65 will be diagnosed with heart failure. Today, heart failure is the single most frequent cause of hospitalization in people over the age of 65. Heart failure accounts for anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of all hospital admissions.

What is Heart Failure?

Heart failure does not mean the heart has stopped working; rather it means that the heart’s pumping power is weaker than normal. With heart failure, blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate, and pressure in the heart increases. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs.

 

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What Causes Heart Failure?

  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). CAD is a disease of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heard, causing decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. If the arteries become blocked or severely narrowed, the heard becomes starved for oxygen and nutrients.
  • Heart Attack. A heart attack may occur when a coronary artery becomes suddenly blocked, stopping the flow of blood to the heart muscle and damaging it.
  • Cardiomyopathy. Damage to the heart muscle from causes other than artery or blood flow problems, such as from infections or alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Conditions the overwork the heart. They include high blood pressure (hypertension), valve disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or heart defects present at birth. In addition, heart failure can occur when several diseases or conditions are present at once.

 

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Symptoms of Heart Failure

  • Shortness of breath with exercise
  • Difficulty breathing at rest or when lying down
  • Dry, hacking cough or wheezing
  • Weight gain from fluid build-up
  • Swelling in feet, ankles, legs, and abdomen
  • Dizziness, fatigue, and weakness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats

 

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Living Better with Heart Failure

Most cases of CHF cannot be cured, however heart failure can be managed. Medical treatment and lifestyle changes can improve symptoms and prevent further loss of heart function.

Medical Treatments

  • Surgery
  • Medications
  • Supplemental oxygen
  • Careful management of underlying conditions

Lifestyle Choices

  • Quit smoking
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit alcohol
  • Exercise and stay active
  • Control stress
  • Eat a healthy diet that’s low in salt and saturated fat
  • See your doctor regularly and follow your healthcare provider’s instructions

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How Our Home Care Team Can Help

Taking care of home and personal needs, as well as following the right care plan, can be challenging for patients who suffer with CHF. Home care can help.

Services We Can Provide

Services may include but are not limited to:

  • Supervise overall care on a regular basis
  • Provide assistance with the activities of daily living
  • Meal preparation
  • Light housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Grocery shopping and errands
  • Special diet assistance
  • Escort to appointments
  • Assist with personal care
  • Assist with exercise and mobility
  • Medication reminder
  • Record keeping
  • Companionship / conversation
  • Assistance for persons with confusion and disorientation or medical health issues
  • Respite care
  • And many more!