CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE
BASIC INFORMATION
DESCRIPTION:
The heart has lost some of its ability to pump blood. The weak pumping causes fluid (congestion) to build up in the lungs and body tissues.
Congestive heart failure is more common in older adults and affects men more than women.
FREQUENT SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
• Feeling short of breath with activity or after lying down for a while.
• Feeling tired or weak.
• Coughing or wheezing.
• Sleep apnea (disturbed breathing at night).
• Swollen lips, ankles and stomach.
• Appetite loss. A weight gain is due to retained water.
• Muscle wasting (loss of muscle mass).
• Swollen or protruding neck veins.
• Less urine and a need to urinate at night.
• Having to sleep propped up or in a recliner.
CAUSES :
Over time, various disorders cause the muscles, valves and blood vessels of the heart to become damaged and weak. The heart is not able to pump enough blood, oxygen and nutrients to other organs in the body that they need for them to function properly.
RISK INCREASES WITH
• Uncontrolled high blood pressure.
• Diseases of heart valves.
• Damage following a heart attack.
• Coronary artery diseases.
• Congenital (Being born with heart disease).
• Abnormal rhythm or irregular heart beat.
RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE:
Smoking, Obesity, High levels of fat in blood, Use of certain drugs, Diet high in fat or salt, Diabetes, Alcohol abuse, and lack of physical activity.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES
• If you have a condition that can lead to CCF get medical care. Follow your treatment plan. Eat a diet high in fiber and low in fat and salt.
• Do not abuse alcohol and do not smoke. Exercise regularly.
EXPECTED OUTCOMES
Symptoms may be relived with treatment. Long term outcome depends on each individual patient and the severity of heart failure.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS
Heart attack, cardiac arrest, severe heart rhythm problems, pulmonary edema ( fluid in lungs), side effects of drugs, total heart failure and DEATH.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
• Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms and activities. Medical tests may include blood studies and X-Rays. Studies may be done of heart activity, function and size to see if there has been a heart attack, and the extent of heart damage.
• The goal of treatment is to improve the heart pumping function. This may include drugs, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Your doctor will advise a treatment plan on your individual needs.
• Do not smoke. Find a way to quit that works for you.
• Hospital care may be needed for severe cases. Supplemental oxygen may be used to help breathing. • Surgery may be required for heart valve problem.
• A heart transplant may be recommended for severe cases that do not respond to other treatment. A mechanical device may be used temporarily to help the heart helping function.
• Wear or carry identification that says you have this condition. Be sure it lists any drug you take.
MEDICATIONS
Drugs may be prescribed to improve heart functions, to slow and regulate the heart rate, remove extra fluid, lower blood pressure, suppress the immune system, and treat any underlying disorder.
ACTIVITY
Follow the medical advice about physical activity limits and when it is safe to resume driving and sexual relations.
DIET
• Eat a diet that is low in salt and fat. Avoid alcohol.
• Go on a weight loss diet if your weight is a problem.
NOTIFY YOUR DOCTOR IF
• You or a family member has symptoms of CHF.
• After diagnosis, any new symptoms occur that causes cancer, or other symptoms worsens.