Our hearts are one of the most essential parts of our body. Without a well-functioning heart it becomes basically impossible for the body to get its necessary nutrients. The heart’s main function is to pump and distribute blood throughout our bodies. Congestive heart failure does not mean that the heart has ceased to function entirely. Rather it means that there is something preventing the heart from being able to circulate as much blood as the body needs.
When the heart is unable perform at its full capacity, the rest of the body will experience some negative effects. For example, the kidneys will receive less blood and be able to filter less fluid. The excess fluid will build up in the lungs, liver, around the eyes, and ankles. This form of fluid congestion is how congestive heart failure gets its name.
According to The American Heart Association, there can be a variety of different symptoms that appear in relation to congestive heart failure.
Shortness of Breath: can appear during activities such as mild exercise, walking, climbing stairs. Breathlessness can also happen while lying on a flat surface, or while sleeping.
Increased Heart Rate: this can feel as though your heart is racing, or throbbing.
Fluid Build Up: may appear in feet, ankles, abdomen, and other areas of the body. You may feel a tightness in shoes that didn’t used to be uncomfortable.
General Fatigue: with carrying out basic tasks such as shopping, cleaning, or walking.
Confusion and Impaired Thinking: may be difficult to notice. A caregiver or family member may be quicker to see this symptom.
Over 6 million people in the United States have some form of heart failure and more than 900,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. While heart failure can happen to anyone, it is more common in the elderly. It is also more likely to appear in people who have experienced heart conditions at another time in their life. Other risks for developing congestive heart failure include: a previous heart attack, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease.
How to Get Help
Congestive heart failure is a completely manageable condition. While it is not curable, it is treatable. Many of the treatment options are easier to follow with the help of a family member or a caretaker. It is never easy to break habits, even if they are harmful to your health. A few lifestyle changes that could help decrease the negative impact of heart failure include:
- Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid or limit caffeine intake
- Be physically active
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Eat a healthy diet
If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from congestive heart failure, do not hesitate to get help. All Best Home Care offers a variety of personalized services that could be greatly beneficial. Give us a call today at (502) 456-2273, or read more about our services here.