Living with Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart does not pump the blood through the body properly. When the blood is not properly pumped throughout the body, the oxygen that the blood carries is not appropriately dispersed to the muscles and other places that require oxygen. At this time in medical technology, Congestive Heart Failure is not curable. However there are medical treatments for the condition and adhering to these treatments helps patients with CHF to live as comfortably and as normally as possible. There are ways to cope with CHF.
First, when a patient is diagnosed with CHF, he or she needs to find a heart specialist that he or she goes to regularly. The patient also needs a regular practitioner to be able to keep on top of prescriptions and other things. Certain medications will be prescribed and one of the best things that a CHF patient can do is to take medications on time regularly and in the correct amounts. Another thing that will help your doctor determine the right combination of medications for you is to record when you take your medications and how you feel after taking your medications. If a certain medicine is causing side affects, your doctor might possibly be able to prescribe a substitute for that particular medication.
Another important aspect of keeping a relatively healthy and comfortable lifestyle is diet. Most patients are placed on a restrictive diet. Many are required to eat heart-healthy low-fat, low-sodium diet. In most cases, 2 g of sodium is the daily limit. Excessive sodium in a diet may cause water retention, making it difficult to breathe. Since CHF already causes problems with water retention, it is helpful to retain as little water with diet as possible. Another thing that causes water retention is drinking excessive liquids. This is another thing the doctor may limit.
Besides medicine and adjusted diet, exercise is a way to cope with Congestive Heart Failure. Many people with CHF think that physical activity will harm them. However, though strenuous activity is not be appropriate, light to moderate activity can be healthy when done carefully.
Another way to cope and live comfortably with Congestive Heart Failure is to make sure you reduce stress as much as possible. Stress has a very negative effect on your heart and as a result, has a negative effect on the functions of your body. Any worry or burden that your family, friends, or caregivers can take from your shoulders is a positive action toward relieving your stress.
Obviously health risks such as smoking should be ceased. The use of nicotine uses up precious available oxygen in the system and therefore should be stopped to allow as much oxygen as possible to exist in the body.
One last thing to remember is to watch physical symptoms. Always record how you feel and make sure you tell your doctor of the slightest change in the way you feel. Listen to the signs your body is giving you in order to stay on top of your condition. Remember, CHF is a condition that can be coped with and treated, but you must alter your lifestyle to get the best quality out of your life.
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