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Does Congestive Heart Failure Go Away

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What Are The Stages Of Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) for Nursing & NCLEX

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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Complications Of Congestive Heart Failure

Heart failure can lead to a number of complications that can influence the chance of survival, including:

  • Rapid Weight Loss Severe heart failure can lead to an unintentional rapid loss of weight that can be life-threatening. Heart failure can cause blood to back up into the liver and intestines, causing these organs to swell. This swelling can lead to nausea and loss of appetite, and can prevent the body from absorbing nutrients from food.
  • Impaired Kidney Function Congestive heart failure weakens the hearts ability to pump blood, reducing blood flow to the kidneys. This can lead to kidney damage or kidney failure if left untreated.
  • Liver Damage Heart failure can cause fluid to build up on the liver, which can lead to scarring. This makes it more difficult for the liver to carry out its day-to-day functions.
  • Arrhythmias Heart failure results in damaged heart muscles, which can lead to the development of an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart beat. Arrhythmias can include the heart beating too quickly, beating too slowly, or beating irregularly.
  • Heart Valve Problems If the heart is enlarged due to heart failure, the valves of the heart, which ensure appropriate direction of blood flow through the organ, may not function properly.
  • Angina and Heart Attack Heart disease is a major contributing factor in many heart failure cases, and people with congestive heart failure are at continued risk of angina and heart attack.

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Are Swollen Feet A Sign Of Heart Failure

Your heart is the hardest-working muscle, pumping an average of 2,000 gallons of blood a day. So when something goes wrong with it, your body will quickly let you know.

Heart failure happens when it cant pump enough blood to keep your organs working normally. One major sign of heart failure is swollen feet, or edema. The swelling comes from fluid trapped inside the tissues of your body.

Heart failure causes swelling in your feet because the kidneys arent getting enough oxygen to properly filter your blood. When that happens, your body keeps the extra fluid and waste products inside your body.

Heart failure also causes a backup of blood, which causes the body to hold on to extra fluid outside of the arteries or veins. This results in swelling in the feet.

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Congestive Heart Failure: Prevention Treatment And Research

Congestive heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart doesnt pump blood as efficiently as it should. Despite its name, heart failure doesnt mean that the heart has literally failed or is about to stop working. Rather, it means that the heart muscle has become less able to contract over time or has a mechanical problem that limits its ability to fill with blood. As a result, it cant keep up with the bodys demand, and blood returns to the heart faster than it can be pumped outit becomes congested, or backed up. This pumping problem means that not enough oxygen-rich blood can get to the bodys other organs.

The body tries to compensate in different ways. The heart beats faster to take less time for refilling after it contractsbut over the long run, less blood circulates, and the extra effort can cause heart palpitations. The heart also enlarges a bit to make room for the blood. The lungs fill with fluid, causing shortness of breath. The kidneys, when they dont receive enough blood, begin to retain water and sodium, which can lead to kidney failure. With or without treatment, heart failure is often and typically progressive, meaning it gradually gets worse.

More than 5 million people in the United States have congestive heart failure. Its the most common diagnosis in hospitalized patients over age 65. One in nine deaths has heart failure as a contributing cause.

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Palliative And Hospice Care

Kidney Dialysis And Congestive heart Failure

Someone living with a serious condition like heart failure can access palliative care at any stage of their condition. Palliative care is intended to support overall wellness and quality of life and can happen alongside other treatments.

With very severe heart failure, people may choose to access hospice care to receive supportive care at the end of life.

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You Dont Have To Face Hf Alone

The term heart failure makes it sound like the heart is no longer working at all and theres nothing that can be done. Actually, heart failure means that the heart isnt pumping as well as it should be. Congestive heart failure is a type of heart failure that requires seeking timely medical attention, although sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably.

Your body depends on the hearts pumping action to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the bodys cells. When the cells are nourished properly, the body can function normally.With heart failure, the weakened heart cant supply the cells with enough blood. This results in fatigue and shortness of breath and some people have coughing. Everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying groceries can become very difficult.

Heart failure is a term used to describe a heart that cannot keep up with its workload. The body may not get the oxygen it needs.

Heart failure is a serious condition, and usually theres no cure. But many people with heart failure lead a full, enjoyable life when the condition is managed with heart failure medications and healthy lifestyle changes. Its also helpful to have the support of family and friends who understand your condition.

What Are The Treatment Options For Canine Congestive Heart Failure

The main goal of CHF treatments is to reduce fluid around the heart so it can function more efficiently, pumping blood to the lungs and other organs. The secondary goal of CHF treatments is to reduce symptoms for your pet so they are more comfortable. The most common CHF treatments include:

ACE Inhibitors

ACE inhibitors are drugs which dilate blood vessels so blood can pass more easily, which means the heart doesnt need to work so hard to do its job properly. They are a very common treatment for CHF, and they are often used in conjunction with other treatment options.


Diuretics are often used alongside other treatments to help remove some of the fluid build up with congestive heart failure.


Digoxin helps the heart contract and is commonly used for CHF.

Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers help relax heart muscles and maintain a steady heart rhythm with fewer disturbances. They may also be used to slow the heart rate.


Beta-blockers are used to slow the heart rate, reduce the demand for oxygen, and maintain a normal heart rhythm.


Your dogs vet may prescribe any combination of the above medications to help manage your dogs CHF symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

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Hypertension Or High Blood Pressure

Another cause of congestive heart failure is high blood pressure or hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, your heart muscle works extra hard to pump blood through your body.

As time passes, because of the overexertion, the muscles in your heart can become too weak or too stiff to properly circulate blood to your body. If you have high blood pressure, your heart muscle workextra hard to pump blood through your body.

Portion Out Your Fluids

An Osmosis Video: Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Explained

Try to distribute your fluid consumption throughout your day. If you wake up and drink a bunch of coffee and water, you might not have much room for other fluids throughout the day.

Budget the 2,000 mL throughout your day. For example, have 500 mL for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This leaves with room for two 250 mL drinks between meals.

Work with your doctor to determine how much you need to restrict your fluid intake.

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Tests For Acute Heart Failure

Your doctor will assess your medical history and perform a physical exam. Theyll listen to your heart and lungs with a stethoscope to detect any congestion or abnormal heart rhythms. Your doctor may also check for fluid buildup in your abdomen, legs, and the veins in your neck.

In addition, your doctor might request tests such as:

  • Blood tests. These could include a BNP test, which measures a hormone related to heart failure.
  • Electrocardiogram . During this test, your doctor will attach electrodes to your skin and record your hearts electrical activity.
  • Stress test. This test measures your heart activity during physical exercise. Its not typically recommended if you already have signs and symptoms of heart failure.

Imaging tests that a doctor can use to help diagnose heart failure include:

  • Chest X-ray. This test allows your doctor to better examine your heart and lungs.
  • Echocardiogram. This test uses sound waves to form a live, moving image of your heart so your doctor can see which areas of your heart are affected.
  • Angiogram. If your doctor thinks you may have a blocked artery, they will insert a thin tube into your groin or arm and into your coronary arteries. After injecting dye through a catheter, your doctor can see an image of your arteries.

When needed, other imaging tests can be used to look for underlying causes of heart failure:

Together, your physical exam and test results can help your doctor learn about the health of your heart.

Severe Heart Failure May Be Reversible

Scientists may have discovered a way of reversing heart failure by getting heart muscle to regenerate itself.

They found that silencing a signaling pathway in mice that had developed heart failure following a heart attack activated a previously unrecognized self-healing process.

In a paper recently published in the journal Nature, the researchers, led by a team from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, report their findings about the signaling pathway, which is known as Hippo.

Heart failure is a serious condition that affects around 5.7 million adults in the United States. It develops when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the bodys needs.

Heart failure does not mean that the heart has stopped pumping, but it does mean that vital organs do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly. Around half of patients with heart failure do not live more than 5 years after diagnosis.

Heart failure remains the leading cause of mortality from heart disease, explains corresponding author James F. Martin, a professor who specializes in regenerative medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and who is also director of the Cardiomyocyte Renewal Lab at the Texas Heart Institute, also in Houston.

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A Personal Story: Reversing Congestive Heart Failure

  • Dr. Gibert Sita, cardiologist, and Don GrossnicklePhoto courtesy of Don Grossnickle

When the echocardiogram technician with a troubled look on her face said, I cant find your heartbeat it is so weak, I jokingly replied: I know why, it is because I left my heart in San Francisco.

Nobody laughed.

In May, 2016, I was facing a diagnosis of acute idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy .

Luckily, this story has a happy ending due to a professional medical team working together in close partnership with a cooperative, diligent patient. It is possible to avoid the surgery and early death that can come with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure.

Just before surgical implant of a cardiac defibrillator, and following 155 days of exhaustive lifestyle changes at the final hour my heart responded with what is called a miracle reversal and remodeling.

Surgery was no longer needed, the symptoms reversed and the heart restored to a normal status.

What was the formula and how did this miracle come to life?

What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Failure

What is Chronic Heart Failure and How to keep the Heart Away from This ...

You may not have any symptoms of heart failure, or the symptoms may be mild to severe. Symptoms can be constant or can come and go. The symptoms can include:

  • Congested lungs. Fluid backup in the lungs can cause shortness of breath with exercise or difficulty breathing at rest or when lying flat in bed. Lung congestion can also cause a dry, hacking cough or wheezing.
  • Fluid and water retention. Less blood to your kidneys causes fluid and water retention, resulting in swollen ankles, legs, abdomen , and weight gain. Symptoms may cause an increased need to urinate during the night. Bloating in your stomach may cause a loss of appetite or nausea.
  • Dizziness, fatigue, and weakness. Less blood to your major organs and muscles makes you feel tired and weak. Less blood to the brain can cause dizziness or confusion.
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats. The heart beats faster to pump enough blood to the body. This can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

If you have heart failure, you may have one or all of these symptoms or you may have none of them. They may or may not indicate a weakened heart.

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Manage Your Condition With An App

When you have heart failure, managing your condition and health can feel like a lot of work. A smartphone app can help you keep track of your medications, appointments, symptoms, and your state of mind. The Heart Failure Society of America has a free app called Heart Failure Storylines, and there are many others too.

A 2018 study reviewed 18 previous reports on mobile health apps for heart failure. The study authors noted a general trend that suggested the apps made a difference to people who used them. They also reported that the apps were cost-effective and promoted people being engaged in their own care.

Making heart-healthy food choices is an important aspect of managing heart failure. Your doctor may recommend that you see a dietitian to help you find a meal plan that works for you.

Two widely recommended diets for people living with heart failure are the

2017 review indicated that both diets, and especially the DASH plan, might be helpful for people with heart failure. The authors recommended further research on the Mediterranean diet, and noted that the DASH plan may provide benefits such as improved cardiac function.

If you dont want to stick to a specific diet, another option is to focus on making heart-healthy choices on a regular basis. The American Heart Association advises people to follow a couple key principles.

In general, youll want to focus on:

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Causes Of Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure can often develop in a person when their heart has been weakened or damaged by some other conditions.

Though, it is not always the case. Sometimes it can occur if the heart of a person becomes too stiff.

When a persons heart begins to fail, the ventricles of the heart becomes too stiff, which causes them to not fill properly. Or the heart muscles become so weak and damaged that the ventricles dilate and stretch to an extent that the efficiency of blood circulation throughout the body is affected.

There are certain other conditions that contribute towards congestive heart failure in a person. They are:

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Living With Congestive Heart Failure: What To Expect

Yes, there are several lifestyle changes you should take into account if youve been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. But remember your diagnosis doesnt mean you should necessarily stop doing things you love.

You are supposed to be exercising walking, biking, swimming, or doing light weight exercises, says Mountis. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity at least five days a week for optimal heart health. Avoid exercises that make you feel breathless, and make sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Your healthcare provider will also likely suggest dietary changes that can help reduce the swelling associated with congestive heart failure and slow the progression of the condition. Those changes may include following a low- or reduced-salt diet, or reducing how much fluid you drink to lessen the bodys water content.

Other lifestyle changes that can slow the progression of heart failure include:

Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure

Heart Failure Warning Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of congestive heart failure are also associated with other diseases and ailments.

In the early stages of congestive heart failure, there is a possibility that you might not feel any changes or symptoms. But as the disease progresses, symptoms appear.

Following symptoms would indicate a person has congestive heart failure:

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