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Warning Signs Of Congestive Heart Failure

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Advanced Heart & Vascular Institute In Boca Raton Fl

Heart Failure Warning Signs and Symptoms

Congestive heart failure is one of many cardiac and blood vessel conditions our board-certified physicians treat. Dr. Eli Levine and Dr. Michael Schechter are board-certified interventional cardiologists who are Boca Ratons experts in preventing and treating congestive heart failure.

If you or your PCP suspect you have this serious heart condition, please contact our clinic for a diagnostic work-up and treatment plan. If you have CHF, we can help you manage it.

Please call us at 235-5621, or request your appointment online through our website. The sooner you contact us, the sooner you can begin a healthier life.

Warning Signs Of Congestive Heart Failure

If you are tasked with caring for an aging family member or another loved one with a history of heart issues, it is essential that you know how to spot heart failure when it happens. Contrary to what the name might suggest, heart failure doesnt mean that the heart stops working entirely or in an instant. Heart failure can lead to disastrous health incidents, such as a heart attack, but heart failure is actually a degenerative condition that occurs in a series of stages.

If heart failure is detected sooner rather than later, one may be able to access important treatments that could slow or even halt its progression from one stage to the next. In order to detect heart failure and help preserve your loved ones health, you will need to know what heart failure does to the body, who is at risk, and how it manifests itself.

Imaging And Other Tests

Other tests provide pictures of the heart and surrounding structures or show how well the heart is working:

  • Electrocardiogram : An electrocardiogram test uses small sensors to measure heart rate , rhythm and electrical impulses.
  • Chest X-ray: A chest X-ray is a picture of your lungs, heart and surrounding structures. It can show whether there is fluid in your lungs from heart failure, or if your heart muscle is enlarged.
  • Echocardiogram : Echocardiography uses sound waves to create images of your heart. It can show how thick the heart muscle has become, as well as measure ejection fraction.
  • MRI: MRI is an advanced imaging test that takes pictures of the heart and surrounding structures. It helps determine your heart function and size and whether there are any changes in the heart muscle. A cardiac MRI may help your doctors identify causes of heart failure.

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How To Spot Heart Failure

It can be difficult to detect because its individual symptoms do not create much cause for concern right off the bat. Perk up if you notice that your aging loved one is experiencing any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Rapid heart rate: Sometimes the heart will work harder and beat faster to make up for its blood buildup and decreased functional capacity. A faster-than-normal heart rate can be a sign that something is seriously wrong.
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet: Fluid buildup resulting from heart failure often shows up most apparently in the joints and appendages of the lower body. If your loved one complains of difficulty walking, flexing joints, etc., be sure to investigate the cause.
  • Significant increase or decrease in weight: If your loved one is losing weight, it may be because they are experiencing a loss of appetite resulting from congestion of digestive organs. If they are rapidly gaining weight, it could be because their body is retaining much more fluid than normal.
  • Difficulty breathing or getting enough air: This can be a sign that your loved ones lungs are congested and full of fluid. If your loved one experiences shortness of breath even while sitting or lying down, seek medical attention immediately.

Even knowing these symptoms, heart failure can be challenging to identify because it tends to occur in conjunction with other serious health problems, such as:

Heart Failure Treatment Is A Team Effort

Early Warning Signs of Congestive Heart Failure (and WHATS causing it ...

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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What Is Heart Failure

Heart failure, or congestive heart failure, is a long-term condition that gets worse over time. Although the name sounds like your heart has stopped working, heart failure means your heart isnt able to pump blood as well as it should. When your heart has less pumping power, that can damage your organs and fluid can collect in your lungs.

Breathing Problems Or Inability To Get Enough Air:

This could indicate that your loved ones lungs are congested and full of fluid. Seek medical help right away if your loved one develops shortness of breath while sitting or lying down.

Even when these symptoms are recognized, heart failure can be difficult to diagnose because it frequently occurs in conjunction with other major health issues, such as:

  • Blood pressure that is too high
  • Valve disease- a condition that affects the valves

There are a slew of other illnesses that could be linked to heart failure. You will need to call in reinforcements to guarantee that your loved one is being watched for probable heart troubles that may arise from pre-existing medical conditions.

Recap On the Signs of Congestive Heart Failure:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet
  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • Breathing problems or inability to get enough air

Care At Heart is honored to work alongside you to keep your loved one safe, happy, and heart-healthy.

Our empathetic, skilled caregivers are all educated to look for major health conditions and indicators of life-threatening diseases including congestive heart failure. We can assist you in ensuring that your loved one is frequently examined for indicators of heart disease so that their health and well-being can be preserved for as long as feasible.

If you or a loved one needs in-home nursing, or other types of home care in Philadelphia, please contact 765-0497 or send us a message.

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Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms: A Closer Look At The Warning Signs

Congestive heart failure happens when the cardiac muscle lacks the strength and elasticity to pump oxygenated blood to all body parts. Unfortunately, more than six million American adults have a potentially deadly and progressive condition called congestive heart failure.

Lets talk about the symptoms you should watch forboth in yourself and your loved ones for congestive heart failure and where you can go in Boca Raton, FL, for comprehensive heart care.

Surgery For Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms and Warning Signs Part 2

Your doctor may recommend surgery to implant a medical device that helps the heart function more effectively:

  • Pacemaker, which maintains a steady heart beat in people with a slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator , which monitors the heart for fast rhythm and delivers an electrical shock to reset normal rhythm
  • Left ventricular assist device , which takes over the pumping action of the heart

People with advanced heart failure may be candidates for heart transplantation. A heart transplant replaces the diseased heart with a donated heart from a person who has died.

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What Is Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is a chronic condition that results from other cardiovascular issues, such as:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congenital heart defects

Having one or more of these conditions weakens your heart muscle until it can no longer pump blood at the necessary rate. The muscle struggles to keep up, placing even more pressure and strain on your heart.

The decreased blood flow restricts the oxygen and nutrients that fuel your entire body. As a result, the kidneys respond by retaining excess fluid that builds up throughout the body. The mixture of water and salt may congest your arms, legs, ankles, feet, liver and lungs, hence the name congestive heart failure.

There are four stages A, B, C and D. The stages start with a high risk of developing heart disease and increase to advanced heart failure. Once you reach the next stage, you can never go back, which is why its crucial to catch it early so you can start treatment to slow the progression.

What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Failure

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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Types Of Heart Failure

The main types of heart failure are named for where they occur in the heart:

  • Left-sided heart failure
  • Biventricular heart failure

Clinicians also may classify heart failure as:

  • Acute: You have active symptoms of heart failure, with either a new diagnosis or with long-term heart failure.
  • Chronic: You have a history of heart failure, but your condition is relatively stable with no symptoms or with manageable symptoms.

Can Surgery Be Used To Treat Heart Failure

In heart failure, surgery may sometimes prevent further damage to the heart and improve the heart’s function. Procedures used include:

  • Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. The most common surgery for heart failure caused by coronary artery disease is . Although surgery is more risky for people with heart failure, new strategies before, during, and after surgery have reduced the risks and improved outcomes.
  • Heart valve surgery. Diseased heart valves can be treated both surgically and non-surgically .
  • Implantable left ventricular assist device . The LVAD is known as the “bridge to transplantation” for patients who haven’t responded to other treatments and are hospitalized with severe systolic heart failure. This device helps your heart pump blood throughout your body. It allows you to be mobile, sometimes returning home to await a heart transplant. It may also be used as destination therapy for long-term support in patients who are not eligible for transplant.
  • Heart transplant. A heart transplant is considered when heart failure is so severe that it doesn’t respond to all other therapies, but the person’s health is otherwise good.

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What Is The Outlook For People With Heart Failure

With the right care, heart failure may not stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis or outlook for the future will depend on how well your heart muscle is functioning, your symptoms, and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan.

Everyone with a long-term illness, such as heart failure, should discuss their desires for extended medical care with their doctor and family. An “advance directive” or “living will” is one way to let everyone know your wishes. A living will expresses your desires about the use of medical treatments to prolong your life. This document is prepared while you are fully competent in case you are unable to make these decisions at a later time.

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When Should I Get Emergency Care

Go to the ER or call 911 if you have:

  • New, unexplained, and severe chest pain that comes with shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, or weakness
  • Fast heart rate , especially if you are short of breath
  • Shortness of breath that doesn’t get better if you rest
  • Sudden weakness, or you can’t move your arms or legs
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Fainting spells

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Limited Ability To Exercise Or Be Active

Are you unable to complete physical tasks that used to be a breeze or not go as hard at the gym as you used to, but don’t know why? If so, it’s probably best to consult your doctor because this could be the sign of a serious health problem.

“People with heart failure are often unable to do their normal activities because they become easily tired and short of breath,” the experts at Harvard Health say.

Swelling In The Legs Ankles Or Feet

Signs and symptoms of heart failure

If you notice unexplained swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet, you could have edema, which the Cleveland Clinic defines as “swelling that is caused by fluid trapped in your body’s tissues.” Though not always, edema is often caused by congestive heart failure because your heart lacks the pumping power to force used blood back up from your lower extremities.

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Is There A Treatment For Heart Failure

There are more treatment options available for heart failure than ever before. Tight control over your medications and lifestyle, coupled with careful monitoring, are the first steps. As the condition progresses, doctors specializing in the treatment of heart failure can offer more advanced treatment options.

The goals of treating heart failure are to try to keep it from getting worse , to ease symptoms, and to improve quality of life.

Some common types of medicines used to treat it are:

  • Aldosterone antagonists
  • Selective sinus node inhibitors
  • SGLT2 inhibitor

Your doctor may also recommend a program called cardiac rehabilitation to help you exercise safely and keep up a heart-healthy lifestyle. It usually includes workouts that are designed just for you, education, and tips to lower your chance of heart trouble, like quitting smoking or changing your diet.

Cardiac rehab also offers emotional support. You can meet people like you who can help you stay on track.

How Do I Know If My Chf Is Getting Worse

Because early treatment of worsening CHF is most effective in preventing hospitalizations, it is very important for the patient to recognize when his symptoms are getting worse. The early symptoms or warning signs of a CHF exacerbation can be different for each person. The patient is the best person to know if he or she is having difficulty breathing, feeling more tired, or gaining more weight. Family members or friends may also recognize some of these signs. Therefore, it is important that you inform your family and friends of these warning signs and let them know what to do if they see them. A change or increase in the symptoms usually experienced may be the only early warning signs you get.

You may notice one or more of the following signs of worsening CHF:

Weight gain: A gain of more than 3 pounds in 24 hours or 5 pounds in a week, no matter what your symptoms are.

Persistent coughing or wheezing: Though some-times misinterpreted by patients and doctors as a chest cold or bronchitis, coughing and wheezing can be a sign of worsening CHF. It results from a build-up of fluid in the lungs. When it is severe, the patient may notice white or pink blood-tinged mucus. This is a serious sign and should prompt a call to your physician and requires a trip to the emergency room.

Malaise:Any feeling of ill health, increased fatigue, and lack of energy that continues for more than 24 hours.

Cyanosis:Any blue color in the lips or fingernails.

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Stages Of Heart Failure

In 2001, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology described the “Stages of Heart Failure.” These stages, which were updated in 2005, will help you understand that heart failure is often a progressive condition and can worsen over time. They will also help you understand why a new medication was added to your treatment plan and may help you understand why lifestyle changes and other treatments are needed.

The stages classified by the AHA and ACC are different than the New York Heart Association clinical classifications of heart failure that rank patients as class I-II-III-IV, according to the degree of symptoms or functional limits. Ask your doctor what stage of heart failure you are in.

Check the table below to see if your therapy matches what the AHA and ACC recommend. Note that you cannot go backward in stage, only forward.

The table below outlines a basic plan of care that may or may not apply to you, based on the cause of your heart failure and your special needs. Ask your doctor to explain therapies that are listed if you do not understand why you are or are not receiving them.

The New York Heart Association clinical classifications of heart failure rank people as class I-II-III-IV, according to the degree of symptoms or functional limits. You can ask your doctor if you want to know what stage of heart failure youâre in.

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