What Is Congestive Heart Failure?
Congestive heart failure (CHF) happens when the heart stops working as efficiently as it needs to in order to circulate blood throughout the body. This often leads to swelling and stretching of the heart chambers, which progressively makes the heart weaker and even less efficient. This may cause the kidneys to fail as well, resulting in an overall increase in water retention (or “congestion”) throughout the body.
Ways to Manage Congestive Heart Failure
If you’ve been diagnosed with CHF, it doesn’t mean your life is over. In fact, you can still lead a productive, active, and enjoyable life, especially if you follow your physician’s instructions carefully.
While CHF does not currently have a cure, you can preserve your mobility and overall quality of life by doing the following:
- Reduce your sodium intake. A high-sodium diet can increase your blood pressure, make swelling worse, and make movement more painful. You can avoid sodium by cutting out things like processed foods, canned goods, and cured meats.
- Minimize cholesterol and saturated fat intake. When experiencing heart failure of any kind, you are at an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack. Cholesterol and saturated fats (which can be found in food such as butter, full-fat dairy products, and processed meats) create plaque deposits in the arteries, which can make persons with CHF doubly likely to die of a heart attack.
- Stick to a light, doctor-approved exercise regimen. If you suffer from CHF, you should always consult your doctor before engaging in exercise of any kind. Otherwise, you may end up doing more harm than good. Exercises such as cycling, yoga, swimming, and walking can work wonders by increasing your effort tolerance, circulation, etc.
In addition to closely following your doctor’s instructions regarding medication, cardiac rehabilitation, and other aspects of your health, these tips can help you counter the effects of CHF and continue to be as happy, social, and active as possible while managing your disease.
Disease Management & Primary Care in Fort Worth
At Primary Care Associates of Texas, we provide comprehensive disease management services for persons struggling with chronic illnesses and other serious health issues, including CHF, COPD, diabetes, and more. If you are struggling to manage congestive heart failure on your own, we may be able to help you come up with a plan to preserve your health and well-being for years to come.