A diagnosis of congestive heart failure can be scary, but the outlook might be better than you think. Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes too weak to pump blood efficiently. It may be useful to know that doctors use the terms “heart failure” and “congestive heart failure” interchangeably.
If your parent or grandparent has been diagnosed with heart failure, read on for what to expect and how to help your senor get better.
Symptoms of congestive heart failure
People with congestive heart failure often have chest pain, shortness of breath, decreased activity, fluid retention, and coughing. The phlegm of a congestive heart failure patient may be pink because it is mixed with blood.
Fluid retention in heart failure starts in the ankles and legs. It can progress, however, to the abdomen. If a senior suddenly has what looks like a beer belly that wasn’t there before, that may point to advanced heart failure, although liver failure has to be ruled out in the process.
Heart failure patients may also lose their appetites and lose weight quickly. However, if they are retaining fluid in the abdomen, it may be hard to see weight loss. Any combination of the above symptoms is a good reason to see a doctor and get a diagnosis.
Can heart failure be reversed? Yes, in some cases. When heart failure is caught early and treated aggressively, it can go into complete remission. However, the patient himself must take immediate action to improve his health.
It’s important to discover what is causing the heart failure. Diabetes often leads to heart disease. When that happens, it will be more important than ever to treat the diabetes as well as the heart condition.
Untreated high blood pressure also leads to heart failure in some patients. Blood pressure is treatable, but it may require the right dose of medication and stress avoidance. Your parent or grandparent will need to monitor his blood pressure at home. Elder care professionals can be a huge help. They will remind your loved one to take his blood pressure and even help him attach the machine.
If a heart failure patient smokes, she will be asked to quit. Smoking is a leading cause of heart failure. Smoking clogs the arteries with fat substances. As a result, the heart has to work harder than it should, and this strains the heart, ultimately weakening the muscle.
Even if your loved one has smoked for decades, his health may quickly improve if he stops. To quit smoking not only benefits the heart, but also the lungs, throat, and esophagus. So quitting is a no brainer. Of course, quitting is harder than it sounds. You can help your loved one quit by exploring different therapies that might include wearing a patch or hypnosis.
In conclusion, a diagnosis of congestive heart failure is not a death sentence. Science is finding ways to mitigate it and improve the lives of heart failure patients on a regular basis. Elder care professionals can substantially help your loved one monitor and control high blood pressure that causes heart failure. These elder care experts can also help your parent or grandparent adhere to a regime that helps him stop smoking.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Elder Care in Joplin, MO please contact the caring staff at Adelmo Family Care today at (417) 206-4576.
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