What Should You Do to Help CHF Patients?


The palliative and hospice care team of Faith and Hope serving Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena fully understands that congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic, progressive condition that, makes it a challenge for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. It is the main cause of hospitalization for those over sixty-five years old. 

What’s Congestive Heart Failure?

When hospice Burbank doctors say the patient has heart failure, that doesn’t mean the heart has stopped working. Instead, it means that the heart works less efficiently than it normally would. Because of different possible reasons, blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate, and pressure in the heart goes up. As a consequence, the heart can’t pump sufficient oxygen and nutrients to accommodate the body’s requirements. 

The heart’s chambers may respond by stretching to hold more blood to pump through the body or get stiff and thickened. Hospice Glendale physicians tell us that this helps to allow the blood to keep moving, but the heart muscle walls may one day weaken and become unable to pump as efficiently. The kidneys may respond by forcing the body to retain more fluid (water). If fluid accumulates up in the arms, legs, ankles, feet, lungs, or other organs, the body gets congested. Congestive heart failure is the word used to describe this condition. 

What Results In Heart Failure?

Many conditions that damage the heart muscle are responsible for heart failure. These include the following:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD). It’s a disease of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, causing lowered blood flow to the heart muscle. If the arteries become blocked or badly narrowed, the heart gets starved for oxygen and nutrients.
  • Heart attack. This occurs when a coronary artery becomes suddenly blocked, halting the flow of blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack damages the heart muscle, bringing about a scarred area that doesn’t work the way it should.
  • Cardiomyopathy. This is damage to the heart muscle from causes besides artery or blood flow issues, such as infections or alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Conditions that overwork the heart. These conditions, including high blood pressure, valve disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or heart defects present at birth, can all cause heart failure. Plus, heart failure can occur when several diseases or conditions are demonstrated at the same time.

What Are the Symptoms of Heart Failure?

It is possible that you or your loved one does not show any symptoms of heart failure, or the symptoms may be mild to severe. Also, the symptoms can be constant, or they can come and go. The symptoms can consist of the following:

  • Congested lungs. Fluid accumulation in the lungs can cause shortness of breath when the person is exercising or difficulty breathing when they are at rest or when lying flat in bed. Also, lung congestion can 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 (called edema), and weight gain. Symptoms may cause a person to urinate more during the night. Bloating in your stomach may cause a decrease or loss of appetite or nausea.
  • Dizziness, fatigue, and weakness. Less blood to your major organs and muscles results in tiredness and weakness. When there is less blood to the brain, it can cause dizziness or confusion.
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats. The heart beats faster to pump sufficient blood to the body. As a result of this, there is a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Although patients and family members of those needing hospice in Burbank, Glendale, or Pasadena know that there is no cure for later-stage congestive heart failure, there are steps you can take to alleviate symptoms and slow down its progression. While you make your New Year’s resolutions for this year, think about adding some of the recommendations below to your list.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Resolutions

Limit Sodium Intake

The first CHF symptoms that palliative and hospice Pasadena patients see is swelling in their feet and ankles since fluid starts to build up in the body. One method to lower fluid retention is to limit sodium intake to 2,000 milligrams per day. Whenever you can, buy fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat. Start training yourself to get into the routine of reading labels, particularly nutrition facts. When buying canned vegetables, items such as soup, or prepared foods, check for items labeled low sodium, reduced sodium, or no salt added. 

Regular Exercise

Talk to your doctor about the kind of exercise you can safely do with CHF. Try to make it your New Year’s resolution to follow your physician’s advice. When beginning any exercise routine, start off slowly and gently increase over time. Attempt to establish a routine that consists of exercises for both strength and balance. 

Speak To Your Family

Although it is possible to live for years with CHF, the condition gets more severe over time. During the early stages of your illness, let your healthcare wishes be known to your family and put the appropriate documentation in place, including a healthcare power of attorney and an advance directive. These forms let others know about the type of medical care you want to receive if you are no longer capable of making these decisions yourself. Though it is difficult to talk about these concerns, it’s best done in advance rather than waiting for a crisis. Essentially, families feel more comforted when they know precisely what their loved ones want when asked to make these decisions at a later stage. 

The professional team at Faith & Hope Hospice and Palliative Care are fully aware of how serious congestive heart failure is and will help your loved ones get the treatment they need for their CHF. Working with the right physician can help reduce symptoms and slow down their progression. To learn more about CHF treatment and care, contact us at (877) 965-5911.