Heart Failure Patients Too Optimistic
Study Shows Patients Overestimate Their Life Expectancy
A new study shows nearly two-thirds of people with congestive heart failure overestimate their remaining life expectancy by an average of 40% compared with whats realistic based on their prognosis.
Heart failure, which occurs when the heart is too weak to pump enough blood to meet the bodys needs, causes 55,000 deaths each year and indirectly contributes to 230,000 more deaths annually in the U.S.
Although there have been recent improvements in congestive heart failure treatment, researchers say the prognosis for people with the disease is still bleak, with about 50% having an average life expectancy of less than five years. For those with advanced forms of heart failure, nearly 90% die within one year.
Patient perception of prognosis is important because it fundamentally influences medical decision making regarding medications, devices, transplantation, and end-of-life care, write researcher Larry A. Allen, MD, MHS, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute and colleagues in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
When Should I Ask For Help
If you feel you need more support to support the patient, speak to their GP, cardiology team or specialist team.
Some parts of the country have specialist heart failure nurses who can be involved in a persons end of life care, so you may want to see if there is one covering your locality. They can visit people at home, in hospital or a hospice and give the person and their family support and guidance.
If the persons heart failure is due to an inherited heart condition such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, their family may have concerns about what the future holds for themselves. Give the family an opportunity to voice their worries and, if its appropriate, mention the possibility of referring immediate family members to a clinic which specialises in inherited heart conditions. This may be done when the person was initially diagnosed.
Inherited heart conditions services offer specialist assessment and investigations, genetic counselling and testing. GPs can refer to this service. Additionally signpost your patient to the British Heart Foundation Genetic Information Service , which offers information and support and helps with referrals.
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What You Should Know If Diagnosed With Congestive Heart Failure
The term heart failure can sound scary when you first hear it the word failure alone could keep you up at night. You might think to yourself, Does this mean that my heart no longer works? Thankfully, thats not the case. What it really means is that your heart is not functioning or pumping as well as it could be, and left untreated, it can cause severe damage to your internal organs. Congestive Heart Failure is a serious condition, but it doesnt have to be a death sentence.
You may have to make some significant changes to your lifestyle going forward. Its important to understand the facts if you have a proper strategy in place and you understand the triggers, you can better manage your condition.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with CHF, here are a few things you should know:
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Recovery And Management Of Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs
Recovery and management will vary based on the cause of the CHF and should be tailored to your specific dog by your veterinarian and/or veterinary cardiologist. However, most dogs will be able to enjoy a moderate level of exercise and activity without strict restrictions.
One important aspect of at-home care in left-sided congestive heart failure patients is monitoring the respiratory rate, which is the number of breaths per minute. The respiratory rate can indicate the level fluid accumulation in the lungs and help determine if you need to see your veterinarian.
As a rule of thumb, a dog at rest should have a respiratory rate of less than 30 breaths per minute. Be sure to count in and out as one breath and be sure the dog is at rest or sleeping when you count. Do not try to count its respiratory rate immediately after physical activity.
Your veterinarian will also monitor periodic chest X-rays to assess the heart size as well as any evidence of fluid in the lungs. Blood work, including kidney values and electrolytes, will likely be recommended every 3-6 months to ensure your pet is tolerating the heart medication. The veterinary cardiologist will likely want to recheck an echocardiogram every 6-12 months to assess changes in the heart and make adjustments in medication as needed.
How To Live Longer With Heart Failure
Everything you need to know about the various stages of heart failure to live longer with the condition.
A congestive heart failure diagnosis doesnt mean your heart has stopped working, it means that your heart is unable to pump enough blood throughout your body.
Heart failure is a scary term, says , a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. The condition can worsen if the proper steps arent taken to slow or halt the problem, but it does not mean your life is over.
Congestive heart failure, more simply known as heart failure, occurs when there’s a reduction in blood flow throughout the body because blood flow from the heart slows down. That means blood returning to the heart through the veins backs up, causing congestion in the body’s tissues. That congestion may cause swelling in the ankles, legs, or stomach, as well as fluid in the lungs that causes trouble breathing.
Life expectancy with congestive heart failure varies depending on the severity of the condition, genetics, age, and other factors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , around one-half of all people diagnosed with congestive heart failure will survive beyond five years. Only around 10 percent of people diagnosed with the condition survive at least 10 years, according to a study published in August 2013 in the journal Circulation Research.
Treating Congestive Heart Failure Symptomshow Palliative Care Can Help
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people facing a serious illness like CHF. The goal is to improve quality of life for both you and your family. You can have palliative care at any age and at any stage of your illness. You can also have it together with curative treatment.
Palliative care is provided by a team of palliative care doctors, nurses and social workers. They work together with your cardiologist to give you an extra layer of support.
The team has a wide variety of approaches to treating congestive heart failure symptoms. These may include medicines, but not always.
Palliative care teams are expertly trained to manage symptoms, side effects and stresses. For example, they may perform highly effective lymphatic drainage. This is a technique for reducing leg swelling and its associated pain.
Theyll educate you about how to stand, sit and lie down to improve your breathing. Theyll also train you in the use of fans, relaxation methods, meditation and breathing exercises to decrease any anxiety or panic that may accompany feelings of breathlessness.
Stage D And Reduced E
Patients with Stage D HF-rEF have advanced symptoms that do not get better with treatment. This is the final stage of heart failure.
Stage D treatment
The usual treatment plan for patients with Stage D heart failure includes:
- Treatments listed in Stages A, B and C.
- Evaluation for more advanced treatment options, including:
- Heart transplant.
- Research therapies.
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How Long Can A Dog Live With Congestive Heart Failure
We hope you clicked on this post only because of curiosity. Hearing that your dog has Congestive Heart Failure is heartbreaking news.
CHF is when the heart cant pump enough blood throughout the body. This causes an increase in pressure and fluid that eventually leaks into other areas of the body. Sadly, there is no cure.
Luckily, dogs with advanced heart failure can have relatively long survival times. The average lifespan after diagnosis is 281 days or between 614 months. If your dog was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, keep reading to learn more about what to expect until the final stages of CHF.
Some Of The Major Risk Factors That Impact Whether You Develop Congestive Heart Failure May Include
- Your current health
- Your family history
While you cant change your genetics or your age, a congestive heart failure risk or diagnosis is serious but does not necessarily spell immediate disaster. By taking a healthy, balanced approach to nutrition, exercise and lifestyle, you may lower your risks of congestive heart failure and increase your longevity if youre diagnosed with heart failure.
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Stages Of Congestive Heart Failure
Stages of congestive heart failure are based on the severity of a patients current symptoms.
In Stage 1, patients are determined to have weakness in their heart muscle, but do not yet have the symptoms or structure of congestive heart failure.
In Stage 2, patients have structural heart disease, but still do not present with the signs or symptoms of congestive heart failure.
In Stage 3, patients experience symptoms that limit their everyday activities. These can include shortness of breath, fluid in the lower extremities, chest pain, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and fatigue.
In Stage 4, symptoms will worsen for the patient and will not improve with treatment. This is the final stage of congestive heart failure.
There are a number of factors that influence how long a patient will remain in the earlier stages and consequently how long they can live with congestive heart failure. These include how well the heart is functioning, age, lifestyle changes, response to treatment, and comorbidities .
Conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, alcoholism, a previous heart attack, heart valve disease, and coronary artery disease can all contribute to congestive heart failure.
How Are Obesity And Heart Disease Related
Obesity affects more than 40% of the U.S. population. The excess fat in obesity was originally thought to be harmless . However, we now know that excess fat causes chemical changes in your blood that increase your heart disease risk. When your fat cells become enlarged, they give off hormones that produce chronic inflammation.
Inflammation can lead to your body no longer using insulin efficiently . This means your body has trouble regulating your blood sugar levels, which can result in metabolic syndrome. Having this condition means you have risk factors that increase your chance of developing heart disease, such as:
How does body shape affect your heart disease risk?
Your risk of heart disease varies based on where your body stores excess fat. People with an apple shape have a higher risk of heart disease than people with a pear shape. Your healthcare provider may measure your waist circumference to understand the degree of abdominal obesity you have as this correlates well with a higher risk of heart disease.
How else can obesity affect your heart?
Increased body fat may also directly contribute to changes in your heart, including:
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Stay On Top Of Medications
One of the most important things for managing congestive heart failure is to take medications consistently and according to instructions. Know which drugs the person youre caring for needs to take and how often they should take them. Also find out what to do if they miss a dose.
If they live alone, you can fill a pillbox with the medications they should take each day of the week. You can also post a simple daily medication schedule on their refrigerator or in their bathroom so they can check off each dose as they take it.
If your loved one has difficulty following the schedule, you might want to call them at regular intervals to make sure they have taken their medications.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of Someone With Congestive Heart Failure
Those suffering from severe kinds of heart failure die at a rate of approximately 90 percent within a year. Despite recent advances in the treatment of congestive heart failure, experts say the outlook for those suffering from the condition remains gloomy, with an average life expectancy of fewer than five years for around half of those suffering from the disease.
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.
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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.
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Why Is This Treatment Done/used
A heart transplant is a last-resort treatment when you have end-stage heart failure. That means your heart has permanent damage or weakness that keeps it from pumping enough blood to your body.
This kind of heart failure can happen for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from infections that damage your heart muscle to abnormal heart rhythms that may cause a reversible weakening of the heart.
Diagnoses most likely to result in heart transplant
The following conditions make up the majority of reasons for heart transplant:
- Cardiomyopathy. This refers to any disease that damages your heart muscle . Diseases that cause this kind of damage include infections, genetic diseases and damage from medical treatments .
- Coronary artery disease. This is a condition that affects the arteries that supply your heart. Its a common cause of heart attack.
- Congenital heart disease. This is any heart disease you have when youre born.
- Valvular heart disease. These are conditions that involve damage to your heart valves.
- Retransplants. These are instances where a person needs a second transplant to replace the first. This can happen because the donor’s body rejects the first transplanted heart or for other reasons.
Heart Failure: Prognosis And Life Expectancy
If you have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, you may have many questions, such as can heart failure be treated, what are the stages of heart failure, and what is the prognosis? The term heart failure can be misleading because when we hear the word failure, we tend to think that something stops working altogether. This isnt the case with heart failure. A diagnosis of heart failure means your heart isnt pumping blood as well as it should be. However, it is a chronic progressive condition that has no cure.
Heart failure is very common, affecting almost 6 million people in the United States. It can occur at any age, even in children, although it tends to affect older people than any other group. There is no cure for heart failure, but treatments can help prolong life and quality of life. Learn more about heart failure survival rates, and what you might do to help improve your odds of living with .
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Ejection Fraction And Its Importance
Ejection Fraction is a key indicator of a healthy heart and is frequently used by physicians to determine how well your heart is functioning as a pump. Ejection fraction is the percentage of blood that is pumped out of the heart during each beat. In a healthy heart, 50-75 percent of the blood is pumped out during each beat. Many people with heart disease pump out less than 50% and many people with Heart Failure pump out less than 40%.
Ejection Fraction is one of the many ways doctors classify the type and severity of Heart Failure and damage to the heart muscle.
Ejection Fraction ranges
- An Ejection Fraction above 50% indicates that your heart is pumping normally and is able to deliver an adequate supply of blood to your body and brain.
- An Ejection Fraction that falls below 50% could indicate that the heart is no longer pumping efficiently and is not able to meet the bodys needs.
- An Ejection Fraction of 35% or less indicates a weakened heart muscle. The heart is pumping poorly, which can significantly increase a persons risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
Measuring your Ejection Fraction
For Heart Failure patients, knowing your ejection fraction is just as important as knowing your blood pressure and your cholesterol. Ejection fraction is often measured using an echocardiogram, a simple and painless test often performed right in the doctors office. Ejection faction can also be measured with other tests including:
- Nuclear stress testing