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What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Comfort Keepers In-Home Care in Westport, Connecticut.

August 24, 2018    by Dennis Potashes

Congestive heart failure, which is also known simply as heart failure, happens when a person’s heart isn’t able to pump blood through the body as effectively as it should. Hearing that an aging relative has heart failure is scary. The name of the condition alone can be confusing and make you think the senior’s heart will suddenly stop working altogether. While the condition is certainly serious and requires medical treatment, knowing more about congestive heart failure may help alleviate some of your fears.

Causes of Congestive Heart Failure

Most of the time, heart failure occurs as a result of other heart conditions that make the heart weaker. Some conditions that can lead to heart failure are:

  • Heart attack.
  • Problems with heart valves.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Coronary artery disease.

Sometimes, there isn’t an underlying heart condition. The heart simply becomes stiff, which causes heart failure. 

Kinds of Heart Failure

Doctors classify heart failure according to the part of the heart that is affected or the way it is affected. Kinds of heart failure are:

  • Left-Sided Heart Failure: When the left side of the heart is affected, it causes the lungs to fill with fluids, making it hard to breathe.
  • Right-Sided Heart Failure: With this kind, fluid can build up in the legs, feet, and abdomen, so you may notice swelling.
  • Systolic Heart Failure: This happens when the left ventricle isn’t able to pump hard enough.
  • Diastolic Heart Failure: This type of heart failure occurs when the left ventricle cannot relax enough to fill properly.

Looking Ahead

Congestive heart failure is a progressive condition, which means it gets worse over time. The heart muscle will get weaker and weaker, making it unable to keep up with the body’s blood supply needs. Treatment involves a variety of medications and/or surgery. In some cases, a heart transplant may be recommended. 

How long a person with heart failure will live depends on several factors, including the severity of the condition and overall health. A study published in 2016 stated that around 50 percent of people live more than five years after receiving a diagnosis.

Home care can help improve the life expectancy and quality of life of a senior with heart failure. Home care providers can help implement some of the lifestyle changes a doctor may recommend, such as eating a healthier diet and getting some exercise. Home care providers can cook balanced meals and assist seniors to be more active. Home care providers can also remind older adults to take their medications, which experts agree is one of the key factors in how well they will respond to their treatment plan.

Sources

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321538.php
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373142
https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide-heart-failure

If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care services in Darien, CT, please contact the caring staff at Comfort Keepers of Greenwich, CT. Call today: (203) 433-5107.