Eating And Digestive Symptoms
Symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, and nausea can make it hard for people with heart failure to take in enough calories and nutrients. Wasting of muscles and weight loss are part of the natural disease process.
It can help to eat several small meals. Choosing foods that are appealing and easy to digest can make it easier to eat.
Caregivers should not try to force a person with heart failure to eat. This does not help the person live longer and may be uncomfortable.
Cardiac Cachexia Or Anorexia
Cardiac cachexia happens when a patient loses fat and muscle tissue. Patients with cachexia may lose their appetite and significant amounts of weight.
Speak to a dietitian about managing cachexia and anorexia. They may suggest eating small, frequent meals or taking high calorie, high protein food and supplement drinks. Patients may need to avoid some fruit juices and food supplements, which can affect their medication.
Emotional Symptoms Towards The End Of Life
People with heart failure may experience different emotions and feelings. They may feel:
- up and down, with good days and bad days
- like they lack control over their life
- like it’s hard to cope with the reactions of others.
People may not think heart failure is as serious as other illnesses, such as cancer. Patients with heart failure can look well even when they feel very ill.
If a patient has anxiety or depression, their healthcare team will assess how it affects them and whether they need treatment, such as cognitive behavioural therapy or medication.
You can support the patient by providing emotional care and helping them with activities to make them feel better, such as reading, going outside and listening to music or audio books. Find out more about providing emotional care.
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Taking Care Of Yourself
Knowing youre coming towards the end of your life can be scary and upsetting. You may even feel angry. You might find that these feelings are made worse by the constant coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and the discussions about death on the news as well as the unknown, and the thought of leaving family and loved ones behind.
Visit our emotional support hub to get help for anxiety, depression and loneliness.
It can really help your mental wellbeing to keep a sense of structure in your life and practice self-care. Depending on your symptoms and how youre feeling, you might not feel up for doing this. But if you can, try to:
do gentle activity exercise if you can, or try to move about
do things you enjoy hobbies/reading/watching TV
keep in contact with family and friends via telephone or social media.
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Both Are Chronic And Have Periodic Flare
Each of these conditions is chronic and cannot be cured. But you can have periods of relative stability when symptoms are not too bothersome. At times, though, the symptoms can worsen or flare-up. This is called an exacerbation.
The difference is what causes these exacerbations. With COPD, triggers are often environmentally-related:
- Exposure to germs that cause respiratory infections
- Breathing in cold dry air
- Exposure to air pollution
- Inhaling strong fumes or smoke
With CHF, factors that cause flare-ups are often more related to lifestyle or other health issues.
- Eating the wrong foods, for example, too many salty foods
- Drinking too much water
- Having a heart attack or stroke
In both cases, exacerbations can also occur when medications are not taken as prescribed.
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The American College Of Cardiology/american Heart Association Categorize The Development And Progression Of Heart Failure Into 4 Stages: A Through D13
Patients at high risk of developing heart failure who are asymptomatic and have no identified structural or functional cardiac abnormalities.
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Supporting Those Around The Patient
Those close to the patient may also need emotional and practical support. They may need:
- information about heart failure to help them understand the symptoms and treatment options
- support if they’re caring for the patient
- time to relax or look after their own health.
If the patient’s heart failure is due to an inherited heart condition, their family may have concerns about their own health. Talk to them about their worries. It might be appropriate to refer immediate family members to a clinic which specialises in inherited heart conditions. This may have been done when the patient was first diagnosed.
Inherited heart conditions services offer specialist assessment and investigations, genetic counselling and testing. GPs can refer to this service.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Failure
Heart failure can happen to anyone. However, certain factors may increase your risk of developing this condition.
There is a higher incidence of heart failure in men compared with women, though the prevalence is about the same for all sexes.
People with diseases that damage the heart are also at an increased risk. These conditions include:
- ivabradine in some cases
- verquvo in some cases
Always speak with your doctor before taking new medications. Some medications are completely off-limits to people with heart failure, including naproxen and ibuprofen .
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.
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Stages Or Classes Of Heart Failure
Your patient may have been told what stage or class their heart failure is at this explains how severe it is.
NYHA classification divides heart failure into four classes:
- Class 1: no limitation of physical activity. Ordinary physical activity does not cause undue fatigue, breathlessness, or palpitations.
- Class 2: slight limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest but ordinary physical activity results in undue breathlessness, fatigue, or palpitations.
- Class 3: marked limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest but less than ordinary physical activity results in undue breathlessness, fatigue, or palpitations.
- Class 4: unable to carry out any physical activity without discomfort. Symptoms at rest can be present. If any physical activity is undertaken discomfort is increased.
Patients with advanced heart failure will usually fit into class 3 and 4, despite the best specialist treatment. Read more about the definition of heart failure from NICE .
What Can Hospice Do For A Patient With Congestive Heart Failure Or Heart Disease
Your hospice team evaluates the patients status and updates the plan of care as CHF or heart disease symptoms and conditions change, even on a day-to-day basis. The goal of hospice is to manage symptoms and relieve physical/emotional distress so patients can live as fully as possible, retain their dignity and remain comfortable at home.
The hospice plan of care treats a wide range of heart disease symptoms, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Functional decline
When you turn to hospice, you are not alone in your journey your hospice care team is educated and experienced in advanced cardiac care, such as:
- Monitoring and managing your symptoms
- Communicating with your cardiologists office to intervene early and stabilize worsening conditions
- Providing medication, oxygen and other medical equipment related to your heart disease
- Providing services to reduce acute symptoms and avoid re-hospitalization
- Providing an average of 5 home visits per week and proactive phone calls
Hospice offers comprehensive services for patients with heart disease, such as:
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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 Is The Importance Of Ejection Fraction
Your ejection fraction is one way to measure the severity of your condition. If its below normal, it can mean that you have heart failure. Your ejection fraction tells your healthcare provider how good of a job your left or right ventricle is doing at pumping blood. Usually, your EF number is talking about how much blood your left ventricle is pumping out because its your heart’s main pumping chamber.
Several non-invasive tests can measure your EF. With this information, your healthcare provider can decide how to treat you or find out if a treatment is working as it should.
A normal left ventricular ejection fraction is 53% to 70%. An LVEF of 65%, for example, means that 65% of the total amount of blood in your left ventricle is pumped out with each heartbeat. Your EF can go up and down, based on your heart condition and how well your treatment works.
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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
Dont Give Up Hope: Managing Advanced Heart Failure
Advanced heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood properly. If this happens, it can have negative consequences for health such as breathing difficulties, energy levels, and overall quality of life. There is no single treatment for advanced heart failure, but medications, regular checkups, and physical activity can all help. You may also need the assistance of family and friends. There is no way to predict how someones life will end if they have heart failure however, we do know that quality of life is severely compromised. Do not give up hope there is help available to those who are suffering from heart failure.
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Treatment For Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs
Treatment depends on the underlying heart disease, along with the severity. There is usually no cure for CHF, but there are effective treatments to ensure a good quality of life. If the cause of CHF is a congenital abnormality like a PDA, surgical correction may help to reverse heart failure if performed in a timely fashion. The goal when treating CHF is to reduce fluid buildup and maximize the amount of blood being pumped to the lungs and the rest of the body.
Here are some of the medications, supplements, and diets that may be recommended:
ACE inhibitors : Help reduce blood volume and pressure, relieve stress on the heart, and slow the deterioration of the heart muscles.
Diuretics: Help stimulate the kidneys to remove excess fluid buildup in the lungs and abdomen.
Vasodilators and positive inotropic drugs: Vasodilators help relax blood vessels and decrease pressure on the heart, allowing it to pump blood more easily. Positive inotropes increase the force with which the heart muscle beats, allowing the heart to pump more blood to the lungs and the rest of the body.
Nutrition: Limiting the amount of sodium in your dogs diet can decrease fluid buildup in the body. Supplements like vitamin B, taurine, and carnitine, along with antioxidants like coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E, can also help. Finally, a diet that allows your dog to maintain a healthy weight is very important for heart health.
How Is Heart Failure Treated
Your treatment will depend on the type of heart failure you have and, in part, what caused it. Medications and lifestyle behaviors are part of every treatment plan. Your healthcare provider will talk to you about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment is the same, regardless of gender.
As heart failure gets worse, your heart muscle pumps less blood to your organs, and you move toward the next stage of heart failure. Since you cant move backward through the heart failure stages, the goal of treatment is to keep you from moving forward through the stages or to slow down the progression of your heart failure.
Stage A treatment
The usual treatment plan for people with Stage A heart failure includes:
- Regular exercise, being active, walking every day.
- Stopping the use of tobacco products.
- Treatment for high blood pressure .
- Treatment for high cholesterol.
- Not drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or an angiotensin II receptor blocker if you have coronary artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or other vascular or cardiac conditions.
- Beta-blocker if you have high blood pressure.
Stage B treatment
The usual treatment plan for people with Stage B heart failure includes:
Stage C treatment
The usual treatment plan for people with Stage C HF-rEF includes:
If the treatment causes your symptoms to get better or stop, you still need to continue treatment to slow the progression to Stage D.
Stage D treatment
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Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs
Symptoms of CHF in dogs can be one or more of the following clinical signs:
Coughing, sometimes even coughing up foam
Increased rate of breathing, even when resting
Inability to exercise
Collapse or sudden death
Seek an emergency vet immediately if your dog is experiencing any signs of respiratory distress or trouble breathing. Your dog may need hospitalization and immediate care when experiencing moderate to severe signs of congestive heart failure.
Hospice Care For Heart Disease Patients
If you are reading this, it is likely you or someone you love has been waging a difficult physical and emotional battle against heart failure or some form of heart disease. Your search for comfort, support and answers does not stop when you accept that you must learn to live with heart disease. Thats when VITAS can help.
Hospice helps patients and their families deal with the significant impact of heart disease after curative treatment has stopped. On this page, weve provided answers to these questions:
- When is the right time to ask about hospice?
- What can hospice do for a person with heart disease?
- What can hospice do for the family of a person with heart disease?
- What are the overall benefits of hospice care?
- How can I approach my hospice discussion with family members and loved ones?
What Are The 4 Stages Of Heart Failure
There are four stages of heart failure – stage A, B, C and D – which range from high risk of developing heart failure to advanced heart failure.
The four stages of heart failure are different to the four classes of heart failure symptoms also described in New York Heart Association , which illustrates the severity of symptoms, ranging from class one to the most severe, which is class four .