What Is Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure describes the inability or failure of the heart to meet the needs of organs and tissues for oxygen and nutrients. This decrease in cardiac output, the amount of blood that the heart pumps, is not adequate to circulate the blood returning to the heart from the body and lungs, causing the fluid to leak from capillary blood vessels. This leads to symptoms that may include shortness of breath, weakness, and swelling.
Understanding blood flow in the heart and body
The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs while the left side pumps blood to the rest of the body. Blood from the body enters the right atrium through the vena cava. It then flows into the right ventricle where it is pumped to the lungs through the pulmonary artery, which carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs. In the lungs, oxygen is loaded onto red blood cells and returns to the left atrium of the heart via the pulmonary veins. Blood then flows into the left ventricle where it is pumped to the organs and tissues of the body. Oxygen is downloaded from red blood cells into the various organs while carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism, is added to be removed in the lungs. Blood then returns to the right atrium to start the cycle again. The pulmonary veins are unusual in that they carry oxygenated blood, while the pulmonary artery carries deoxygenated blood. This is a reversal of duties versus the roles of veins and arteries in the rest of the body.
When To Seek Help
Patients with a life expectancy shorter than six months are eligible for hospice care. A hospice provides additional aid and resources to assist the person in living comfortably and with the highest possible quality of life. Hospice caregivers can also help patients and their families plan for future needs and circumstances. They have a unique insight into how to assist those with these difficulties.
Patients with end-stage heart failure need medical continuity throughout outpatient programs. These are just some of the symptoms that hospice care might help with. Positive inotropic drug infusions, anxiolytics, and sleeping medicines are all viable treatments. Its challenging for patients, families, and doctors caring for patients with end-stage heart failure to identify when treatment goals shift from survival to quality of life, allowing for a peaceful and dignified death.
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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How Old Is My Mom With Congestive Heart Failure
My 92 yr old mom has congestive heart failure. Its been years She has such a tremendous attitude. When she was young she was a nurse on the hospital ship HOPE during WWII, then she became a stewardess. She married my dad and became a good mom. So now, I want to be a good daughter to her.
Mother, on the other hand, had CHF for many, many years and it was pretty much kept under control with diet and meds. The last year of her life the CHF didnt respond well to much of any thing. Four months before she died she had a cough that didnt respond to anything and only happened at night.
Both of my parents died from CHF. My dad had it later in his life and after 3 months of doctors, hospitals, etc. he said enough. He went on the Hospice program and died 6 months later. The last 2 months he was pretty much bed ridden.
CHF is one of the most common reasons those aged 65 and over are hospitalized . This report presents National Hospital Discharge Survey data from 2000 through 2010 on hospitalizations for CHF. Did the number and age distribution of patients hospitalized for CHF change from 2000 to 2010?
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What To Expect During The Final Stages Of Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure refers to when the heart cant or doesnt work well enough to provide oxygen and nutrients to the parts of the body and brain that need them. This decrease in cardiac output means the heart isnt strong enough to move blood from the body and lungs back to the heart. This causes fluid to leak from capillary blood vessels.
Shortness of breath, weakness, and swelling are some things that might happen because of this. Before we dive into the depths of the heart failure signs of death, lets understand what goes on in the body.
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Stages Of Dying From Congestive Heart Failure
It is estimated that there around 5 million Americans suffering from congestive heart failure and every year another half a million people are diagnosed. This condition occurs when the heart is unable to pump sufficient oxygen-rich blood to meet the demands of the body. It can occur due to various reasons, like elevated blood pressure, malformed valves of the heart, weakening or stiffening of the heart muscle or diseases that demand more oxygen than the heart can supply, like anemia or hyperthyroidism.
As the disease progresses, the symptoms of condition tend to worsen until the eventual death of the person. Some of the common symptoms of congestive heart failure include shortness of breath when doing minor physical activity, fatigue, weakness, edema of the ankles, feet and legs, arrhythmia, constant coughing and wheezing, edema of the abdomen, nausea, lack of appetite, and problems in concentration. These symptoms tend to worsen as the congestive heart failure worsens or becomes more acute.
There are mainly 4 stages of dying from CHF, or congestive heart failure. These stages are described below.
Stage 2: In the second stage of dying, the tiredness becomes worse and the person may also suffer from palpitations of the heart while doing light exercises. However, the symptoms tend to disappear once the person rests for a while.
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Treatment Options For Heart Failure
Once your vet has diagnosed your dog with congestive heart failure with a physical exam and diagnostic imaging, there will be a few treatment options that can offer your dog more time.
These management options will only be a band aid for your dogs heart disease, but can offer them much needed comfort as the condition progresses.
Some of the most common treatment options for dogs with CHF include:
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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.
Heart Failure Treatment Is A Team Effort
Heart failure management is a team effort, and you are the key player on the team. Your heart doctor will prescribe your medications and manage other medical problems. Other team members — including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, exercise specialists, and social workers — will help you achieve success. But it is up to YOU to take your medications, make dietary changes, live a healthy lifestyle, keep your follow-up appointments, and be an active member of the team.
If you notice anything unusual, don’t wait until your next appointment to discuss it with your doctor. Call them right away if you have:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Swelling in your ankles, feet, legs, or belly that gets worse
- Shortness of breath that gets worse or happens more often, especially if you wake up feeling that way
- Bloating with a loss of appetite or nausea
- Extreme fatigue or more trouble finishing your daily activities
- A lung infection or a cough that gets worse
- Fast heart rate
- New irregular heartbeat
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Helping Individuals With End
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, heart disease is on the rise in the United States. Additionally, the disease comes with a high symptom burden, specifically at the end-of-life. Therefore, individuals with end-stage heart disease and congestive heart failure can benefit from hospice services.
Hospice of Southern Illinois focuses on comfort care for individuals with heart disease and CHF rather than curative treatment. Keeping in mind that your loved ones wishes are most important, our team including the medical director, pharmacist, nurse practitioner, nurses, social workers, counselors, hospice aides and volunteers will work together to create an individualized plan of care to reduce pain and keep symptoms managed, including but not limited to, chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. We will cover medications, equipment and services related to the patients terminal prognosis. Contact us today for more information on hospice for CHF, care for individuals with heart disease, and care for advanced heart failure. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to help.
Stage A Treatment Options
Treatment options in stage A mainly focus on promoting your overall health and disease prevention. If you meet the stage A criteria, your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes to slow or stop disease progression.
Heart Failure Doctor Discussion Guide
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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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Heart Failure Signs And Symptoms
By themselves, any one sign of heart failure may not be cause for alarm. But if you have more than one of these symptoms, even if you haven’t been diagnosed with any heart problems, report them to a healthcare professional and ask for an evaluation of your heart. Congestive heart failure is a type of heart failure which requires seeking timely medical attention, although sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably.
This table lists the most common signs and symptoms, explains why they occur and describes how to recognize them.
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Signs It Might Be Time For Hospice
Patients are considered to be in the terminal end stage of heart disease when they have a life expectancy of six months or less. Only a doctor can make a clinical determination of congestive heart failure life expectancy. However, look for these common signs that the disease has progressed to a point where all involved would likely benefit from hospice services:
- The patient has advanced congestive heart failure or advanced coronary disease with frequent episodes of angina .
- The patient has an abnormal heart and suffers significant symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath or functional decline.
- Optimal treatment for the patients condition has already been provided and he or she is not a candidate for further surgical or medical intervention.
- The patient has tried optimal treatment and made the personal choice not to pursue any further specialized treatment.
People often say, I wish I had asked about hospice sooner.1 Reports show early referral to hospice results in greater satisfaction for the patient and their caregivers. In 2015, seriously ill patients received hospice services for an average of 69.5 days, but given more time, hospice resources can supplement care provided by doctors and loved ones through a patients last six months of life.
How Can I Improve My Quality Of Life With Heart Failure
There are several things you can do to improve your quality of life if you have heart failure. Among them:
- Eat a healthy diet. Limit your consumption of sodium to less than 1,500 milligrams each day. Eat foods high in fiber. Limit foods high in trans fat, cholesterol, and sugar. Reduce total daily intake of calories to lose weight if necessary.
- Exercise regularly. A regular cardiovascular exercise program, prescribed by your doctor, will help improve your strength and make you feel better. It may also decrease heart failure progression.
- Dont overdo it. Plan your activities and include rest periods during the day. Certain activities, such as pushing or pulling heavy objects and shoveling may worsen heart failure and its symptoms.
- Prevent respiratory infections. Ask your doctor about flu and pneumonia vaccines.
- Take your medications as prescribed. Do not stop taking them without first contacting your doctor.
- Get emotional or psychological support if needed. Heart failure can be difficult for your whole family. If you have questions, ask your doctor or nurse. If you need emotional support, social workers, psychologists, clergy, and heart failure support groups are a phone call away. Ask your doctor or nurse to point you in the right direction.
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A: Patient Understanding Of Disease And Prognosis
A1: Dealing with advanced heart failure and ageing
Patient statements revealed different levels of perspectives related to heart failure, ranging from descriptions of their illness adaption to changing conditions , appraisal of their own quality of life , and their handling of information regarding their illness .
A1.a: Perception of heart failure
The patients described various experiences with symptoms of heart failure, in particular, limitations such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and restrictions in activities of daily living. Frequently, they did not perceive heart failure as a life-limiting, chronic disease with a long-term course, but rather as a disease with acute life-threatening events. The patients often believed their condition was a result of their old age and not a genuine illness. Medical definitions and personal experiences may diverge: Despite their specific diagnosis and treatment, the patients reported feeling well. Consequently, they may play down their symptoms and not take their medications. However, changes in the patients perceptions were sometimes observed when their condition worsened:
Patient P1, T3 : But my heart, thats not really the problem. That is high blood pressure. Yes, I have that! Oh, yeah! You know, now now I have it under control. You know, I have never taken any pills. Yeah, and I watch out for my blood pressure. But if I say I take my tablets, that I do not do that anymore.
A.1b: Adaption to changing conditions
What Is An Ejection Fraction
An ejection fraction is a measurement of the blood pumped out of your heart with each beat, expressed in a percentage. It can be measured using an echocardiogram , multigated acquisition scan, nuclear stress test, magnetic resonance imaging , or during a cardiac catheterization. A normal ejection fraction is between 50% and 70%.
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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.
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