Take Care Of Your Health
Congestive heart failure death is a very real proposition. About 670,000 people are diagnosed with congestive heart failure annually. As a matter of fact, congestive heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization in people older than age 65. Lets talk about the final congestive heart failure stages of dying.
Strengths And Limitations Of The Study And Method
Our study has a consistent and in-depth focus on the patients perspective. A major strength is the inclusion of very old patients . It is in the nature of qualitative studies to have a small number of participants. Therefore, the findings cannot be generalised, but they provide specific in-depth insights into the perception and personal experience of old and very old patients with severe heart failure. The patients were only recruited in an inpatient setting at two geriatric hospitals and not in general practice or other outpatient settings. Furthermore, the tendency towards socially desirable statements must be considered. To reduce social bias, the interviewer was not involved in the delivery of health care for the patients and was not employed by either of the geriatric hospitals.
Saturated Fat And Fried Foods
According to the , eating foods high in saturated fat or trans fat can contribute to heart disease. Trans fat is a type of oil that turns into solid fat during food processing.
Foods containing saturated fats include:
- high fat cuts of meat
5.7 million people in the United States have received a diagnosis of heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure.
In this condition, the heart does not pump enough blood to meet the bodys needs. It can affect the right side, the left side, or both sides of the heart.
Right sided heart failure involves the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to the lungs to collect oxygen. In left sided heart failure, the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to all parts of the body.
Heart failure can be due to conditions that overwork, damage, and weaken the heart. When this happens, the body releases certain substances into the blood that have a toxic effect on the heart.
These conditions include:
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Talking To Loved Ones
Although death is a normal part of life its rarely something we talk about, even with the people closest to us. It can feel very difficult to speak about your condition or the fact that youre approaching the end of your life. Some people find that their family members dont want to discuss what is going to happen. Other people worry that theyll be a burden for their family. But talking about it can help you feel closer and more able to deal with the future together. There is no right or wrong way to start conversations, and its important that you do what feels right for you. You dont have to talk about everything at once, take things at your own pace.
Get advice on starting conversations about the end of life.
Both Are Chronic And Have Periodic Flare
Each of these conditions is chronic and cannot be cured. But you can have periods of relative stability when symptoms are not too bothersome. At times, though, the symptoms can worsen or flare-up. This is called an exacerbation.
The difference is what causes these exacerbations. With COPD, triggers are often environmentally-related:
- Exposure to germs that cause respiratory infections
- Breathing in cold dry air
- Exposure to air pollution
- Inhaling strong fumes or smoke
With CHF, factors that cause flare-ups are often more related to lifestyle or other health issues.
- Eating the wrong foods, for example, too many salty foods
- Drinking too much water
- Having a heart attack or stroke
In both cases, exacerbations can also occur when medications are not taken as prescribed.
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What Are The Stages Of Heart Failure
Heart failure is a chronic long-term condition that gets worse with time. There are four stages of heart failure . The stages range from high risk of developing heart failure to advanced heart failure, and provide treatment plans. Ask your healthcare provider what stage of heart failure you are in. These stages are different from the New York Heart Association clinical classifications of heart failure that reflect the severity of symptoms or functional limits due to heart failure.
As the condition gets worse, your heart muscle pumps less blood to your organs, and you move toward the next stage of heart failure. You cannot go backwards through the stages. For example, if you are in Stage B, you cannot be in Stage A again. The goal of treatment is to keep you from progressing through the stages or to slow down the progression.
Treatment at each stage of heart failure may involve changes to medications, lifestyle behaviors and cardiac devices. You can compare your treatment plan with those listed for each stage of heart failure. The treatments listed are based on current treatment guidelines. The table outlines a basic plan of care that may apply to you. If you have any questions about any part of your treatment plan, ask a member of your healthcare team.
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Risk Factors For Heart Failure
Health conditions that left unrecognized or untreated will increase the lifetime risk of developing heart failure. Some of these diseases include:
- Coronary heart disease and heart attacks
- High blood pressure
Unhealthy behaviors can also increase your risk for heart failure, especially for people who have one of the diseases listed above. Unhealthy behaviors include:
- Smoking or using tobacco
- Use of illegal drugs, like methamphetamines or even excessive alcohol intake
- Eating foods high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium
- Not getting enough physical activity
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Request A Hospice Evaluation
The primary physician may recommend hospice when the time is right. But as anyone who has faced a serious illness knows, patients and family members often must act as their own advocates to receive the care they need and deserve.
You, your loved one or your trusted physician may request an evaluation to see if hospice is an appropriate option for care.
Where Youd Like To Be Cared For
An important choice to make is where youd like to be cared for. Everyone is different and will have different priorities for their care. This is something to chat to family and friends about as they might have opinions too. You can express your wishes about where youd liked to be cared for in an advance statement or advance decision. Your decision might be affected by the coronavirus pandemic so its a good idea to have a second option. Bear in mind that you might need to be flexible about your wishes, as hard as this may be. Talk to your GP or nurse if you have any queries about how your care might be affected.
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Initial Stages Of Chf
In the initial, mild stage A, there are underlying high-risk factors for CHF such as smoking or high blood pressure. However, the affected person has no symptoms or limitations at rest or with physical activity and there are no signs of CHF on evaluation by a doctor.
In stage B, the person develops mild symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, or heart palpitations with routine physical activity. There are minor signs of heart dysfunction on a doctor’s evaluation. There might also be a mild, intermittent collection of fluid, known as edema, in the ankles and feet.
Surgery And Other Approaches
Depending on the underlying cause of the condition and the specific symptoms or complications, a doctor may recommend:
- surgery, to open blocked passages in the heart or repair heart valves, for example
- monitoring the persons fluid balance, kidney health, and other factors, to manage diabetes
- assessing blood pressure, heart rate, and other cardiac measures, to control high blood pressure
- counseling, for alcohol or drug use
- preparing a follow-up plan that includes sodium and fluid restriction
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When To Seek Hospice Care
Even physicians have difficulty determining life expectancy for people with end-stage heart-failure. The condition can be unpredictable, and symptoms can change. However, certain signs can indicate that hospice care would be beneficial, including:
- frequent chest pain
- significant fatigue or shortness of breath
- substantial decline in ability to do daily activities, such as self-care
- The patient has already received the best possible treatment, which are no longer working well, and the patient is not a candidate for other interventions.
- The patient has received the best possible treatment and has decided to decline further specialized interventions.
People can be reluctant to start hospice, as they may worry it means theyre giving up or that it will hasten death. But such concerns are unfounded. In fact, patients and families often wish they had started hospice sooner, because it makes such a positive difference in their lives. And research shows that early admission to hospice results in greater satisfaction with care among patients and family caregivers.
How Long Can You Live With End
Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition that worsens with each flare-up. Your outlook and prognosis are better if you are healthy overall, you have been following your treatment plan, and you are responding well to your treatments. Being willing to pursue invasive treatments like a heart transplant will also increase your life expectancy.
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How Long Can dogs live with congestive heart failure? 6 However, once congestive heart failure develops, survival time is expected to be between 6 and 14 months. Do dogs suffer when they have congestive heart failure? A dog with congestive heart failure may cough, have trouble breathing, experience fatigue, loss of appetite, or might die suddenly. Median survival time after diagnosis of advanced heart failure was 281 days . Can a dog die suddenly from a heart murmur? A heart murmur does not mean that heart failure is imminent, but eventually congestive heart failure will occur. Congestive heart failure, per se, usually does not cause chest pain. However, remember other serious conditions that cause chest pain, such as angina and myocardial infarction, can coexist with heartfailure. If these symptoms develop quickly or worsen rapidly, seek emergency treatment. Shortness of breath..
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How Palliative And Hospice Care Can Help With End
Both palliative and hospice care focus on the whole person, including their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. The main difference is that palliative care can be given at any time during a serious illness, and hospice care is given near the end of life typically when a persons prognosis is six months or less.
Palliative and hospice care can also provide help with making difficult treatment decisions, such as whether to be resuscitated if the persons heart stops, or whether to have a tube placed in their throat to help them breathe.
Similarly, people with end-stage heart failure may need to decide when to disable certain medical devices implanted in their body:
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator . Patients can have the shock function turned off, or not replace the battery when the current one runs out. Electrical shocks from ICDs can cause unnecessary distress for patients and loved ones at the end of life.
- Left ventricular assist device . Typically, the patient decides when this heart pump will be shut off before it is implanted. The decision can be discussed again as the end of life nears.
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Where To Get Support
If youre finding it hard to speak to friends and family, you could phone your GP or nurse for help. At this time, nurses may have been redeployed so it might take a little longer to get in touch with them. You could also try speaking to people in a similar position to you, through online channels like Health Unlocked. You could also visit a Death Café. This sounds scary, but they are a place for people to gather and normalise conversations about death. Death Cafés arent operating due to coronavirus, but many are holding virtual meetings online instead. If you would rather get support over the phone, Soul Midwives have set up a free telephone line, available for anyone facing the end of life or caring for someone who is.
Get support and information from Compassion in Dying.
What Is Ejection Fraction
Ejection fraction refers to how well your left ventricle pumps blood with each heart beat. Most times, EF refers to the amount of blood being pumped out of the left ventricle each time it contracts. The left ventricle is the hearts main pumping chamber.
Your EF is expressed as a percentage. An EF that is below normal can be a sign of heart failure. If you have heart failure and a lower-than-normal EF , your EF helps your doctor know how severe your condition is.
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How Does Heart Failure Affect The Quality Of Life And Lifestyle
With the right care and treatment plan, many adults still enjoy life even though heart failure limits their activities. How well you feel depends on:
- How well your heart muscle is working.
- Your symptoms.
- How well you respond to your treatment plan.
- How well you follow your treatment plan.
This includes caring for yourself by:
- Taking your medications.
- Tracking and reporting new or worsening symptoms to your provider.
- Keeping regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider.
Because heart failure is a chronic, long-term illness, talk to your doctor and your family about your preferences for medical care. You can complete an advance directive or living will to let everyone involved in your care know what you want. A living will details the treatments you do or dont want to prolong your life. Its a good idea to prepare a living will while you are well in case you arent able to make these decisions at a later time.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you have heart failure, you can take steps to improve your heart health. Take your medications as instructed, follow a low-sodium diet, stay active or become physically active, take notice of sudden changes in your weight, live a healthy lifestyle, keep your follow-up appointments and track your symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider about questions or concerns you have about your medications, lifestyle changes or any other part of your treatment plan.
What Is The Outlook With Heart Failure
With the right care, congestive heart failure wont stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis, or outlook for the future, will depend on:
- How well your heart muscle is working.
- Your symptoms.
- How well you respond to your treatment plan.
- How well you follow your treatment plan.
One study says that people with heart failure have a life span 10 years shorter than those who dont have heart failure. Another study showed that the survival rates of people with chronic heart failure were 80% to 90% for one year, but that dropped to 50% to 60% for year five and down to 30% for 10 years.
A different study found that people who had heart failure and were discharged from the hospital had expected life spans ranging from three to 20 years, depending on various factors like age and gender. Its important to look at your specific situation when considering your prognosis.
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Early Attention To Heart Disease
Congestive heart failure is one of the leading causes of death in the elderly and is not curable. The best course is to avoid or treat early known causes of the disease to prevent or limit damage to the heart. See your doctor if you notice early signs that might indicate CHF such as shortness of breath or fluid in your legs.
What To Leave Behind
When you start to plan ahead for the end of your life it can be quite normal to start thinking about the life that youve lived and the experiences that youve had and shared with others. You may also think about unresolved issues or try to make amends. Some people want to leave things behind to their family or friends as a way of expressing their feelings. You could:
Create a memory box or a photo album that brings back good memories. You can do this on your own or with your partner, family, friends, children or grandchildren.
Record voice messages on your phone or computer.
Make a video on your phone or computer.
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Tips For Managing Congestive Heart Failure End
You may be asking, How can I provide comfort to my loved one as they experience the end-of-life signs of congestive heart failure? Its only natural that you as a loved one and/or caregiver will want to be as helpful as possible, and ensure that your loved one is experiencing as little pain as possible. Heres some ways you can help:
- Communicate with the doctors and healthcare professionals: Your loved one may be too weak, or simply forget, to communicate their symptoms to the doctors and nurses. You can help by sharing this information with them in order to make sure your loved one gets what they need.
- Provide comfort: Sometimes it is just as simple as spending time with your loved one while watching a TV show, or talking about things they love. These conversations can help in alleviating some of their depression and anxiety.
- Help them remember to take their medicine: There will likely be various pills and medications that your loved one needs to take. You can help by assisting your loved one in staying on schedule.