Living with Congestive Heart Failure

Posted by Bonnie Joffe on 11/30/2017 to Articles
Living with Congestive Heart Failure

There are more than 200,000 cases of congestive heart failure per year. The majority of those affected range in age, beginning at age 40 and up. [1]

This is a usually a chronic condition in which the heart does not properly pump the blood as is required for a healthy heart.

Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the case—shortness of breath, tiredness, swelling in the legs and or a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, unexplained weight gain, bloating, excessive urination during the night hours and even a loss in appetite.

The only way to detect this disease is through a medical diagnosis and most likely lab tests. Although this is not a curable condition, it can be managed for several years.

Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, in order to effectively manage this chronic condition, there are several immediate steps that can be taken including beginning of prescription medication (s) such as a diuretic, which increases urine production and getting rid of excess salt and water, a Beta Blocker that slows down the heart rate and lowers blood pressure or an Ace Inhibitors that also lowers blood pressure, as well as relaxing the blood vessels. [2] (There are several other medications that may be prescribed, but too many to enumerate here).

Additionally, there are several medical procedures that can be done, all of which will be determined based on the severity and immediate need.

Lifestyle and dietary changes must be immediate.

  • Consume less salt: no more than 1500-2400 mg/day
  • Reduce fluid intake
  • Exercise: engage in aerobic activity for at least 20-30 minutes, 5 days per week—this will improve cardiovascular health
  • Quit smoking: for obvious reasons!
  • Lose weight: taking off unwanted pounds will take pressure off the heart, thus improving the heart's function
  • Elevate the legs: if there is swelling in the legs, elevation will help this symptom

Although Congestive Heart Failure is not a curable condition, it does not mean that it's a death sentence! Taking the proper medications and making the necessary lifestyle changes will help to improve the chances of positive long-term results.


[1] Pennmedicine.org

[2] Gstatic.com