Helping Someone Manage Congestive Heart Failure
Whether your loved one lives alone, with you, or in a long-term care facility, you should encourage them to care for themselves as much as possible. Although you may be tempted to take care of everything for them, theyll feel better about themself if you help them perform tasks on their own. As long as theyre able, they should be involved in managing their symptoms and making decisions about treatment. By taking on too much responsibility for your loved one, you risk taking away their independence and exhausting yourself in the process.
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.
Managing Congestive Heart Failure: How To Live Longer And Better With Congestive Heart Failure
The term heart failure is something of a misnomer. It makes it sound like the heart has stopped working, but that isnt really the case. What congestive heart failure means is that the heart isnt pumping efficiently enough to keep up with the bodys needs. Heart inefficiency might be a better term. With the proper treatment and lifestyle changes, many people with congestive heart failure can lead active lives for many years.
Read Also: How Long Does End Stage Heart Failure Last
Read Also: How Does Exercise Affect Heart Rate
How Does Heart Failure Affect Quality Of Life And Lifestyle
With the right care and treatment plan, heart failure may limit your activities, but many adults still enjoy life. How well you feel depends on how well your heart muscle is working, your symptoms and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan. This includes caring for yourself and living a healthy lifestyle .
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 your desires. A living will details the treatments you do or dont want to prolong your life. It is 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.
Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.
The Stages Of Dying From Congestive Heart Failure
There are more than five-million people in the United States affected by heart failure and approximately 500,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. This condition leads to the heart becoming too weak to pump blood throughout all the areas of the body. This results in the body being deprived of the nutrients and oxygen that are necessary to keep the body functioning properly. This condition can be either chronic or acute. There are four stages of dying from congestive heart failure and during the last stage, the body ultimately shuts down.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Ideal Heart Rate
Heart Failure Life Expectancy Calculator
The heart failure life expectancy calculator is a simple, yet effective, tool for predicting the 1-year and 3-year survival odds of someone with congestive heart failure.
In the article below, we will focus on congestive heart failure/CHF prognosis, the estimates on how long can you live with congestive heart failure, and the average CHF life expectancy for a given stage of the disease.
Left Ventricular Assist Devices
These may be implanted in the chest to increase heart pumping action. Until recently, LVADs required that the patient be hooked up to a large, hospital-based console while awaiting a transplant. Miniaturized battery-powered LVAD units, however, are allowing many patients to leave the hospital. The devices may be used as a primary treatment or as a bridge to heart transplant in adults.
Don’t Miss: What Is Another Word For Heart Attack
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 heart’s 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.
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Failure
It is very important for you to manage your other health conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, anemia, high blood pressure, thyroid disease and asthma or chronic lung disease. Some conditions have signs and symptoms that are similar to heart failure. If you have new or worsening non-urgent symptoms, tell your healthcare provider.
Recommended Reading: What Causes Your Heart Rate To Drop
Can You Get Better After A Diagnosis Of Heart Failure
Heart failure is a;chronic, progressive condition, which means it gets worse with time. But even though it doesnt necessarily get better, managing heart failure the right way can help reduce symptoms and slow down the progression of the condition.
I try to get patients to understand that this is not a death sentence, Mountis says.
- Other chronic disease, like diabetes, HIV, or thyroid disease
Depending on the stage and severity of condition, some individuals may need more aggressive treatment, Mountis adds. But it is very possible to live a very good life with a diagnosis of heart failure.
Weight Loss Diabetes And Obesity
A 2018 study published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes suggests that a sustained weight loss of more than 5% of body weight will lead to an improvement in glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors.;By employing healthy lifestyle choices such as exercise, eating a better diet, and other behavior interventions, both weight loss and lowering hemoglobin A1C can be reached.;
Medication to manage weight may improve glycemic and metabolic control in both people with diabetes and obese patients, and, when deemed appropriate, bariatric surgery may be an option for obese and diabetic patients.
Before you begin any sort of weight-loss program, consult with your cardiologist and diabetes management team first.
Don’t Miss: How Many People Die From Heart Disease Each Year
Reversing Congestive Heart Failure
It is possible to reverse congestive heart failure. Once the condition of your heart is assessed, the physician will take further steps to treat your congestive heart failure and start appropriate treatment.;
This treatment starts with medications and then other procedures may be done to attempt to help the heart get stronger.; There are a lot of medications available that will help in improving the quality of your life.
Cardiac viability tests are non-invasive tests that should be done initially to asses if the heart muscle is still alive and if the hearts condition is reversible. Cardiac viability tests should be done prior to any invasive procedures, to make sure the heart condition is reversible and to see if the invasive procedure is truly needed.;
For reversal of this disease, early diagnosis is very important.;
Cardiac PET provides one of the best and easiest ways to assess for cardiac viability in all individuals.
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.
You May Like: What Is The Average Resting Heart Rate For Adults
End Stages Of Heart Failure: What To Expect
Congestive heart failure is one of the most common reasons for hospital admissions for senior citizens. In fact, over 5 million adults in the United States experience heart failure.
Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes damaged and can no longer pump blood effectively. Although symptoms can be managed, this is a chronic condition with no cure. In time, patients will reach the final stages of congestive heart failure.
Patients in the end stages of heart failure want to know what to expect. The symptoms of end-stage congestive heart failure include dyspnea, chronic cough or wheezing, edema, nausea or lack of appetite, a high heart rate, and confusion or impaired thinking.
What You Can Do For Your Loved One
In addition to symptom management, its important for the family caregiver to learn how to recognize the end-of-life signs for CHF, and when they should contact hospice. Hospice care will be able to address the specific needs of CHF patients in their final days, and help them to get the most out of what time they have left.
Also Check: What Causes Low Blood Pressure And High Heart Rate
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.
What Do Symptoms Of End Stage Congestive Heart Failure Look Like
Dyspnea or shortness of breath can occur both during activity and rest. This is the symptom that often sends patients racing to the hospital late at night. Work with your hospice or palliative care team to manage symptoms at home and avoid these stressful hospital trips.
When the heart cannot keep up with the supply of blood moving between it and the lungs, fluid can build up in the lungs. This results in a chronic cough or wheezing that can produce white or pink mucus.
As the hearts ability to pump slows down, fluid can build up in the body. This creates swelling in the extremities particularly the feet, ankles, legs, or abdomen.
Lack of Appetite
As the digestive system receives less blood, patients may feel full or nauseous. Not wanting to eat is a natural part of the body shutting down, but families often find this distressing. Learn more about why it is okay for your loved one to stop eating and drinking at end of life.
High Heart Rate
In response to a loss in pumping capacity, the heart begins to beat faster. The patient experiences this as a racing or throbbing heartbeat.
When the heart stops working effectively, it can change sodium levels in the blood. This leads to memory loss, confusion, and a general feeling of disorientation.
Also Check: What To Do When Someone Has A Heart Attack
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.
Can Congestive Heart Failure Kill You
Heart failure is a serious health condition that can become dire if left unchecked. According to the Centers for Disease Control , approximately 5.7 million American adults have heart failure. Nearly half of those who are diagnosed with the condition die within five years. However, a congestive heart failure diagnosis does not have to be a death sentence. Understanding your illness can help you live longer and live better.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Heart Attack
When To Get Medical Advice
See a GP if you experience persistent or gradually worsening symptoms of heart failure.
Call 999 for an ambulance or go to;your nearest A&E department as soon as possible if you have sudden or very severe symptoms.
A number of tests can be used to help check how well your heart is working,;including blood tests, an;ECG and an echocardiogram.
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:
Read Also: How High Should Your Heart Rate Be
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.
Understanding Congestive Heart Failure
A classification system devised by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association categorizes congestive heart failure patients into four stages, from A to D .
At the earliest stage, someone may not even notice their heart failure, or it may seem to disappear once they start taking medication. Their heart failure might never progress past this point, especially if they take good care of themself. Or at later stages, they may have difficulty with everyday activities, like walking up stairs or carrying groceries. They may feel more fatigued than usual because their cells arent getting the nutrients they need. Fluid in their lungs can cause shortness of breath especially when lying down or it might accumulate in the legs or ankles, causing painful swelling.
Also Check: Heart Rate When Having A Heart Attack
What Will Happen Towards The End
Heart failure usually gets gradually worse over time. It may eventually reach a point where it becomes very severe and it’s unlikely the person will live much longer.
Palliative care;will usually;begin when heart failure reaches this stage.
This involves treatment to help you feel as comfortable as possible,;as well as;psychological, spiritual and social support for both you and your family.
You can choose whether you want palliative care and where you’d like it to be provided.
It;can be provided:
Causes Of Heart Failure
Heart failure is often the result of a number of;problems affecting the heart at the same time.
Conditions that can lead to;heart failure;include:
- coronary heart disease where the arteries that supply blood to the heart become clogged up;with fatty substances , which may cause angina or a heart attack
- high blood pressure this can put extra strain on the heart, which over time can lead to heart failure
- cardiomyopathy conditions affecting;the heart muscle
- heart rhythm problems;, such as;atrial fibrillation
- damage or other problems with the heart valves
- congenital heart disease;;birth defects that affect the normal workings of the heart
Sometimes anaemia, drinking too much alcohol, an overactive thyroid or high pressure in the lungs can also lead to heart failure.
Read Also: Does Your Heart Rate Increase When Pregnant