What Are The Stages Of Congestive Heart Failure
The New York Heart Association has developed a scale that commonly is used to determine the functional capabilities of heart failure.
New York Heart Association Functional Classification of Heart Failure
Know When To Seek Help
Watch for signs that heart failure is getting worse,;such as;new or worsening;symptoms. Weight gain, ankle swelling,;or increasing shortness of breath;may mean that fluids are building up in your body. Ask your doctor how often you should check your weight and when to report weight changes.;
Your;symptoms may suddenly get worse.;Ask your doctor when to make an office visit or get emergency care.;Keep the following handy:;
- Phone numbers for your doctor, the hospital, and someone who can take you for medical care;;
- Directions to the doctor’s office and hospital;;
- A;list of all the medicines youre taking;;
What Causes Congestive Heart Failure
There are several conditions that can impair the pumping efficiency of the heart. Below are a few common and rare conditions that can cause congestive heart failure:
- Coronary artery disease : This is the most common cause of congestive heart failure, as the arteries become blocked or severely narrowed, which decreases blood flow to the heart.
- Alcohol abuse
- Disorders of heart valves
- Thyroid abnormalities, viral infection, and heart rhythm abnormalities are a few rare cases that can cause congestive heart failure.;
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Life Expectancy With Congestive Heart Failure
The life expectancy of someone with congestive heart failure depends on the type of heart failure, the cause, the stage of the disease, and how effective treatment is.
When heart failure results from cardiomyopathy or coronary artery disease, a person typically has a less positive outlook than someone with heart failure in its earliest stage.
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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Shortness Of Breath And Fatigue
The American Heart Association said shortness of breath is an indicator of heart failure. The AHA described situations that indicate a shortness of breath and they include:
- You have breathlessness during activity , at rest, or while sleeping, which may come on suddenly and wake you up.
- You need to be propped up after having difficulty breathing while laying flat.
- You wake up feeling tired or restless after sleeping through the night.
Blood vessels can get backed up due to an unhealthy heart, and it starts spreading to places it shouldnt be, like the lungs. This causes shortness of breath.
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.
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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.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Failure
Heart failure is one of the most expensive and growing health problems in the United States. Its estimated that over 6 million Americans experience heart failure in a year, and the problem costs our health care system $30.7 billion each year.;
Despite the seriousness of the condition, many people dont know the signs and symptoms of heart failure.
Keep in mind that heart failure doesnt mean that your heart completely stops beating. Hearts going through failure are severely damaged but can still retain some function. Thats why its important to know the signs of heart failure so you;can get yourself or a loved one to the hospital immediately.;
Unsure of what you should be looking for if youre concerned about heart failure? Heres a quick primer.;
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What Are The Four Stages Of Congestive Heart Failure
The New York Heart Association developed the four stages of congestive heart failure depending on the functional capabilities of the heart.;
- Class I:;Patients will have no problem while performing physical activity.
- Class II:;Patients will have minor limitations of physical capacity due to a marked increase in physical activity. This leads to;weakness,;increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and chest pain, but they may be comfortable at rest.
- Class III:;Patients with marked limitation of physical activity in which minimal ordinary activity results in;weakness,;increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and chest pain; however they are comfortable at rest.
- Class IV:; Patients cannot carry on any physical activity without discomfort and have symptoms of heart failure or chest pain, even at rest.
Medical History And Physical Exam
Bring a list of your;symptoms;to your doctors appointment, including;how often they happen and when they started. Also, bring a list of any;prescription and over-the-counter;medicines you take.;Let;your doctor;know;if;you;have;any;risk factors;for heart;failure.;
During;your;physical exam, your doctor will:;
- Measure your heart rate, blood pressure,;and body weight.;
- Listen to your heart;with a stethoscope;for sounds that;suggest that your heart is not working properly.;
- Listen to your lungs for the sounds of fluid buildup.;
- Look for swelling in your ankles, feet, legs,;liver, and veins in your neck.;
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What Are The Common Early Symptoms Of Heart Failure In Adults
Most of the common symptoms of heart failure are also associated with other conditions.
But if you have any symptoms that are recurrent or persistent, or if you have two or more common early signs of heart failure, its a good idea to seek medical care. A medical professional can assess your symptoms and determine if heart failure is the cause.
Common early symptoms of heart failure include:
- shortness of breath
- trouble sleeping, or sleeping on extra pillows
- waking up at night short of breath
- loss of appetite or nausea
- heart palpitations
Next, well explain a bit more about why each of these symptoms can be caused by heart failure.
Fatigue And Exercise Intolerance
Persons with heart failure may also notice fatigue and the decreased ability to perform activities or exercise. These complaints tend to be progressive and often arise slowly, so that the person may not be aware of the gradual change in exercise function until daily activities become a chore.
When both the right and left sides of the heart fail to pump adequately, the symptoms and signs of both right and left heart failure develop. The person may complaint of swelling in the legs and feet as well as shortness of breath.
What Causes Heart Failure
Heart failure can be caused by many medical conditions that damage the heart muscle. Common conditions are:
- Coronary artery disease affects the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the heart . The normal lining inside the arteries breaks down, the walls of the arteries become thick, and deposits of fat and plaque partially block the flow of blood. Over time, the arteries become very narrow or completely blocked, which causes a heart attack. The blockage keeps the heart from being able to pump enough blood to keep your organs and tissues healthy. When arteries are blocked, you may have chest pain and other symptoms of heart disease.
- Heart attack. A heart attack happens when a coronary artery suddenly becomes blocked and blood cannot flow to all areas of the heart muscle. The heart muscle becomes permanently damaged and muscle cells may die. Normal heart muscle cells may work harder. The heart may get bigger or stiff .
- Cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a term that describes damage to and enlargement of the heart muscle not caused by problems with the coronary arteries or blood flow. Cardiomyopathy can occur due to many causes, including viruses, alcohol or drug abuse, smoking, genetics and pregnancy .
- Tobacco and illicit drug use.
- Medications. Some drugs used to fight cancer can lead to heart failure.
Get Support And Know Your Options
Living with heart failure may cause fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. Talk;to;your healthcare team or a professional counselor. They can help you find or learn ways to cope.;
- Get treatment for depression.;If you are depressed, your doctor may recommend medicines or other treatments that can improve your quality of life.;
- Join a patient support group.;You can learn how other people who have similar symptoms have coped with them. Your doctor may be able to help you find local support groups, or you can check with an area medical center.;
- Seek support from family and friends.;Letting your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help can help lower;your;stress and anxiety.;
- Know your treatment options.;If your heart failure is;very serious,;palliative or hospice care;can;improve your quality of life and;help make your daily life more comfortable. This type of care focuses on managing your symptoms, helping you avoid unnecessary tests or treatments, and providing support to your loved ones.;
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Pleural Effusion And Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea
Pleural effusions. Pleural effusions may develop, increasing the severity of shortness of breath.
- Heart failure can cause a person to suddenly waken in the middle of the night with the sensation of shortness of breath, suffocating, and wheezing.
- The person may need to sit at the edge of the bed to catch his or her breath, and sometimes, feel the need to get up and go to an open window to get more air.
- Standing or sitting up tends to resolve the shortness of breath after many minutes.
Youre Suddenly Gaining Weight
The fluid buildup that may be in your legs can back up higher into the abdomen and arms. This rapid weight gain is often mistaken for fat accumulation, but its actually water weight from fluid retention, says Dr. Quinones-Camacho. This can happen suddenly, she adds, like seeing an additional five pounds over a few days, particularly in the belly.
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
What Are Compression Socks
- Compression stockings are specially made, snug-fitting, stretchy socks that gently squeeze your leg.;
- Graduated compression or pressure stockings are tighter around your ankle and get looser as they move up your leg.
- Compression sleeves are just the tube part, without the foot.
- Pressure from compression socks helps the blood vessels work better in the legs. This allows the arteries that take oxygen-rich blood to the muscles can relax, so blood flows freely. The veins get a boost pushing blood back to the heart.
- Compression stockings are worm for comfort, to help prevent serious medical conditions, and compete better in sports.;
- Compression stockings can:
- Lower the chances of getting a blood clot in the leg
- Lessen pain and leg swelling
People should who wear compression socks include:
- People with or at risk for circulation problems, like blood clots in the leg , varicose veins, or diabetes
- People who have ;just had surgery
- People who can’t leave their bed or have a hard time moving their legs
- People who stand all day at work
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Mayo Clinic Q And A: Congestive Heart Failure And Diet
DEAR MAYO CLINIC:;My doctor told me that I have congestive heart failure and I have to change my lifestyle, including my diet.;What kind of diet should I be on?
ANSWER:;When patients have congestive heart failure, their heart isnt able to manage fluid well, and it builds up in the body. This fluid can cause shortness of breath, swelling in the abdomen or legs, and fatigue. If this occurs, diuretics, or water pills, often are prescribed to remove the excess fluid. Your health care provider also will recommend that you restrict your sodium, or salt, intake.;Why is this important?;Sodium makes your tissues act like a sponge, hanging on to water.;This extra water retention, on top of the fluid retained from your heart not working properly, will make it harder for your water pill to work, and you likely will keep feeling poorly.
So, what does it mean to restrict your sodium?;The American Heart Association recommends 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams of sodium per day for heart failure patients.;Most Americans far exceed that recommendation.
How will you know how much sodium you are getting in your diet?;First, be aware that any added salt will add up quickly.;One teaspoon of table salt is over 2,000 mg of sodium.;And it doesnt matter if its Himalayan salt, sea salt or kosher salt all should be avoided.
When To Call 911 For Heart Failure
- Chest discomfort or pain that lasts more than 15 minutes
- Severe or persistent shortness of breath
- Fainting or passing out
- A fast or irregular heartbeat, palpitations or a racing heart;that does not go away
- A need to sleep sitting up on more pillows than usual
- Frothy or pink tinged sputum when coughing
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