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Does My Aging Loved One Have Congestive Heart Failure?

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 20, 2017 3:38:00 PM / by Bart Delsing

Helping your senior manage CHF

As loved ones age, chronic diseases become more common. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a common condition in the elderly in which the heart no longer pumps properly to fully support the body’s needs. CHF can become serious, especially when it goes undiagnosed. According to the National Institute of Health, it is the leading cause of hospitalizations for people over 65 years of age and often causes readmissions. 

CHF has an average one-year mortality rate of 33 to 35 percent because of the condition’s poor prognosis. It is vital to understand the symptoms and treatment options for CHF – and how common the disease is for those over 65 years of age – in order to bring it to a doctor’s attention as soon as symptoms begin. 

Symptoms of CHF

Basic symptoms of CHF include:

  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in the lower half of the body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Significant weight gain in a short period of time
  • Persistent bloating
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea 

These are common symptoms for several different conditions, which is why it’s important to understand the dynamics of CHF. If the heart isn’t functioning as it should, this causes the lungs to become congested. The backup of fluid causes shortness of breath, particularly after exercise or when lying flat. If your loved one is constantly finding themselves short of breath or wheezing throughout the night, CHF might be the cause.

Inhibited pumping of the heart causes less blood flow to the kidneys, resulting in an increase of fluid and water. Almost like a domino effect, the retention of fluid and water will cause the legs, ankles, and torso to swell, quickly spiking a person’s weight. One or two of these symptoms paired with flu-like symptoms that don’t subside should encourage an individual to seek a professional opinion. 

Treating CHF

Like many conditions that come with age, lifestyle modifications are a good way to reduce symptoms of CHF. These include a healthy diet, especially a reduction in sodium to mitigate bloating and fluid intake. With the added “water weight,” you’ll need to regularly monitor your senior’s weight and help them attempt to lose weight, if recommended by a doctor.

Once diagnosed with CHF, your loved one will likely be prescribed medications to improve the heart’s ability to pump blood and help relieve the stress being placed on it. These medications will cause the blood vessels to relax and will play an integral role in keeping the symptoms at bay.

Managing your loved one’s symptoms of CHF may sometimes seem like a full-time job. And honestly, sometimes it can be. Pain management, preparing healthy meals, managing medications, and getting your loved one the proper exercise are all key ingredients for treating CHF – but there is help.

The team at FirstLantic knows how to be the helping hand your family needs for implementing the right strategies to support your loved one. We have been providing top-quality home healthcare for over 17 years, offering hourly, daily, and overnight services to meet our clients’ needs. If your loved one is in need of a home health aide in Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Indian River, or Martin County, call us toll free at 1.866.638.3239 or email us at info@firstlantic.com. 

Topics: congestive heart failure symptoms

Written by Bart Delsing

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