We only have one, and it’s possibly the most critical part of the body – so learning that our heart is “failing” is quite scary. Congestive heart failure impacts about 6 million individuals in the United States alone, according to the CDC, and although it’s a chronic illness, there are actions people can take to slow the advancement and manage the effects. Read on to learn how home care helps with congestive heart failure.
What Can Cause Congestive Heart Failure?
Generally speaking, congestive heart failure (CHF) is the consequence of a weakening of the heart from issues such as:
- Heart attack
- Heart disease
- Cardiomyopathy (injury to the heart muscle)
- Malfunctioning heart valves
- Congenital heart defects
- Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
- Heart arrhythmias
- Thyroid disease
- And various other chronic illnesses
What Are the Stages of CHF?
There are four primary stages of CHF:
People who are at an increased risk for developing CHF due to a family history of cardiomyopathy, early coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, are regarded as being in the early stage of CHF. At this stage, lifestyle changes are important to stop CHF from developing. This may include dietary changes, exercise, and medications.
In this stage, there are some signs of changes in the heart that could result in CHF. There could have been a prior heart attack or heart valve disease, or elevated blood pressure could be impacting heart health. Treatment includes the lifestyle modifications for Stage A, combined with possible surgical procedures or other treatment for artery blockage, heart valve disease, or heart attack.
Stage C is the first stage in which CHF is officially diagnosed. Observable symptoms include swelling in the legs, shortness of breath (including after awakening or getting up from a lying down position), and the lack of ability to exercise. Cardiac rehab and medications might help enhance quality and length of life for those in Stage C.
By the time someone gets to Stage D, options include a mechanical heart pump or heart transplant. It is critical to see a heart specialist as soon as possible upon receiving a diagnosis of Stage D CHF to determine the optimum plan of action.
How Can a Person Live With Congestive Heart Failure?
The American Heart Association suggests moderately strenuous aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days each week, for optimal heart health. However, it is important to check with the doctor for recommendations. Specifically, physical exercise shouldn’t result in breathlessness for people who have CHF.
Other important lifestyle changes to slow the advancement of CHF include:
- Observing a low- or reduced-salt diet
- Steering clear of alcohol and smoking
- Sustaining a healthy body weight
- Keeping blood pressure levels under control
- Getting enough sleep
- Minimizing stress
How Home Care Helps With Congestive Heart Failure
An experienced care provider can make a significant difference in the quality of life for someone with CHF. A few of the various ways they can help include:
- Grocery shopping and preparing heart-healthy meals
- Offering transportation to medical appointments
- Motivating and encouraging the person to stick to an exercise program
- Ensuring medications are taken exactly when and how they have been prescribed
- Providing friendly companionship to relieve isolation and loneliness
- And much more
Contact Hearts at Home In-Home Care, a trusted provider of elderly home care in Kansas City and the surrounding areas, at 913-440-4209 to find out more about how our award-winning in-home care services can make every day the best it can be for someone with CHF.