What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure, or CHF, is a chronic condition in which the heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. Heart failure can occur if the heart cannot pump or fill adequately. This may cause an excess buildup of fluid in the lungs, liver, abdomen or lower extremities.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen legs, inability to exercise, and rapid, irregular heartbeat.

Treating congestive heart failure may include eating less salt, limiting fluid intake, and taking prescription medications. Your doctor may implant a defibrillator or pacemaker as needed.

How can you manage your congestive heart failure?

Managing congestive heart failure means keeping your breathing regular and staying healthy. Diet plays an important role when it comes to heart health. Cut back on salt intake at meals and maintain a healthy weight.

What can you do?

Talk with your doctor about what causes your symptoms and how best to manage them.

Some things your care plan should include are:

  • Give up smoking
  • Eat right and exercise
  • Limit or eliminate alcohol
  • Manage your other chronic symptoms
  • Reducing stress
  • Continuing taking prescribed medications
  • Weigh yourself daily

Discuss your congestive heart failure care plan with your provider.

Your plan needs to take into account your schedule, how active you are, your cultural background, and other medical problems you may have. You need to be involved in creating your care plan. Otherwise it’s unlikely that the plan will fit into your life or that you will understand what you need to do. For more information and resources go to http://www.heart.org/

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