Congestive heart disease occurs when the heart’s function declines.
It may be caused by lifestyle habits, such as smoking, or chronic health conditions like high blood pressure.
Close to five million U.S. adults have congestive heart failure (CHF). Of those cases, around four out of five patients with CHF are over the age of 60. Another half a million new cases are diagnosed each year.
What are the signs of congestive heart disease? What treatment options are likely to be recommended by your parent’s doctor? Here’s what you should know so that you can offer the support your parent needs.
Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure
Fatigue and weakness are two of the first symptoms of congestive heart disease. They can also appear in many other health issues, so it’s important to see a doctor for a professional diagnosis. Swelling in the legs, feet, and ankles is also common.
Your mom or dad may find it hard to breathe after rigorous exercise or when lying down. That can make it hard to exercise. A persistent cough is another sign. Finally, difficulty concentrating or staying alert can be signs.
If the disease goes untreated or ignored, chest pain can occur. Your parent cannot ignore chest pain. It may be nothing alarming, but it’s essential to have it diagnosed and learn what steps should be taken. The earlier you catch congestive heart disease, the better it is in terms of longevity.
Steps Your Parent’s Doctor Will Recommend
-If your mom or dad is in the first stage (Stage A) of congestive heart disease, the treatment plan will include dietary changes, regular exercise, and medications. A beta-blocker can reduce high blood pressure, and insulin is one option for managing diabetes.
-Stage B is determined when the heart function is showing signs of dysfunction. In addition to Stage A’s treatment plan, surgical intervention may be used if there is a blockage or issue with a valve. Medications to stop the heart muscle from enlarging may also be prescribed.
-Stage C is active heart failure. Several symptoms, such as swelling, shortness of breath, and weakness, are present. All of the treatment options from the first two stages are used. The addition of medications to slow the heart rate, diuretics, a low-sodium diet, a pacemaker, and nitrate drugs may also be prescribed.
The final two stages are a point of no return. At this point, a heart transplant may be the best option. Your mom or dad may need skilled nursing care for palliative care. Home health care services can help you make the arrangements for that level of care.
If your mom or dad has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, your parent must follow the doctor’s instructions. That may mean working with a home health care agency to make sure and follow therapeutic measures, prescription medication orders, and dietary measures.