What is it? Heart Failure (HF) does not mean that the heart has stopped or is about to stop. Heart Failure is a condition in which the heart does not pump blood through the body as well as it should. This causes a person to feel tired & weak due to less nutrient & oxygen rich blood reaching the bodys cells.
How common is this? Heart Failure is very common. Heart Failure affects nearly 5 million Americans. An estimated 400,000 to 700,000 cases are diagnosed each year.
Not enough blood circulates. Blood backs up in veins. Fluid builds up causing congestion. The body holds too much fluid. Fluid builds up in lungs, legs, abdomen. HF is chronic & progressive, but people can lead normal & active lives by taking good care of themselves & monitoring their health. What happens in heart failure?
Symptoms of Heart Failure Shortness of breath Problems breathing when lying down Waking at night with coughing or shortness of breath Edema or swelling to feet, ankles, legs, or abdomen Weakness or tiredness Weight gain Loss of appetite Increased heart rate or palpitations Confusion or inability to think clearly
Weighing daily is very important. Take medications as directed. Follow a low sodium diet. Get regular exercise. Stop smoking. Avoid excess fluid consumption, alcohol. Know the warning signs of heart failure & when to call the doctor. Keep follow up appointments. Management of the disease
The goal is to monitor for symptoms everyday a stable CHF patient should have: No shortness of breath No weight gain of more than 2 pounds in a day No swelling of feet, ankles, legs, or abdomen No chest pain
2 lb weight gain in 1 day More than 5 lb weight gain in a week Shortness of breath Edema/swelling to feet, ankles, legs, stomach Lack of energy or feeling more tired Dry hacking cough Dizziness Uneasy feeling – something is not right Harder to breath when lying flat Call the doctor for any of these warning signs:
Struggling to breathe Unrelieved shortness of breath Chest pain Confusion Inability to think clearly Call 911 or go to ER when:
Weigh daily and keep a record. Same time each day, with the same amount of clothing. Usually done first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom. Before breakfast. Concerned family or friends can encouage each day or ask How was your weight today?or Have you noticed any changes in your weight? Bring the weight record to all physician appoinments Daily Weights
Take medications exactly as prescribed & have an updated & accurate list. Common HF medications: –Diuretics (water pills) – Lasix/furosemide, Zaroxolyn/metolazone, Bumex/bumetanide, Aldactone/spironolactone –ACE inhibitors – Zestril/lisinopril, Capoten/captopril, Vasotec/enalapril, Altace/ramipril –ARB (used instead of ACE) – Cozaar/losartan, Diovan/valsartan, Atacand/candesartan –Beta blockers – Lopressor or Toprol/metoprolol, Coreg/carvedilol, Medications
Physical Activity Incorporate exercise in your activities Form an exercise group to help with motivation Types of physical activity –Walking –Gardening –Biking –Wii Cardiac rehab Be sure though that you are balancing rest & exercise
Diet Diet is very important in the management of HF Limit sodium intake Use fresh instead of canned Avoid processed foods Limit fluid intake Try to bake, broil, steam, roast, poach, boil foods without salt Help or encourage residents to make the right choices & serving sizes
Sodium Less than 2000mg/day is the goal Dont add salt when cooking Season with herbs instead Try to used fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned, but if you must use canned, rinse the vegetables off before using Avoid processed foods like hot dogs, lunch meats, bacon, etc. Be aware of sodium content in sauces, dressings, & spreads
Fresh instead of Canned 1 cup of fresh cooked peas: 2mg of sodium 1 cup of regular canned peas: 400mg of sodium
Salt One level teaspoon of salt has about 2300 mg of sodium
Sodium Breads (yeast breads have less sodium than those made with baking soda) Many cold cereals like shredded wheat, bran flakes, puffed rice/wheat Cooked cereals, pastas, rice & other starches made without salt Low fat or reduced sodium cheese in small amounts Tuna packed in water Fresh meats & fish Eggs Any fresh or frozen fruit or vegetables Breads or crackers topped with salt Biscuits, cornbread, & other quick breads made with baking soda Canned or pickled vegetables like sauerkraut French fries & onion rings Buttermilk & processed cheeses Cured, smoked or canned meats Salted butter/margarine, ketchup, BBQ sauce, salsa, pickles, soy sauce LOW sodium foodsHIGH sodium foods
Fluids As a general rule people with heart failure should avoid excess fluids. Some people may also be instructed to restrict their fluids. This just isnt beverages but also soups, jellos, ice creams, etc. Alcohol should be avoided.
Summary Heart Failure is a chronic condition in which the heart can not pump blood through the body as well as it should. This causes blood to back up & fluid to build setting off symptoms of shortness of breath, swelling, fatigue, cough, dizziness, & weight gain. Heart Failure can be managed by monitoring for symptoms daily, a low sodium diet, limiting fluids, & exercise. Websites: –www.abouthf.orgwww.abouthf.org –www.heart.orgwww.heart.org –www.heartfailure.orgwww.heartfailure.org