Congestive heart failure (CHF) is one of those progressive diseases that develop over time. It causes the heart muscles to become weak and compromises the strength of the cardiovascular system. What happens is that when the heart is unable to pump enough blood for the demands of the other organs in the body, CFH begins to occur. Not only is the heart affected in this disease, other organs such as the kidneys and lungs are also affected.
Although the process of aging is a large factor in CHF, there are many other conditions that can trigger it or make it worse. Some of the other possible causes of CHF include high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, heart valve disease due to past rheumatic fever, past heart attack resulting in scar tissue, and others.
Heart failure symptoms vary from person to person. Mostly the common symptoms are caused by the excess fluid which builds up in the body because of CHF. They include but are not limited to fatigue, weakness, coughing, wheezing, and swelling in the ankles and legs, weight gain, irregular pulse, lack of appetite and even nausea.
The prognosis is always better when the family recognizes the signs and something is done right away for CHF treatment. If your elderly parent has already had at least one episode of CHF, you may want to consider a full-time home care provider for her, or even part-time home care if you are providing some caregiving part-time.
Home care would help your mom in several areas:
- She would have help doing things that make her become out of breath.
- She would have someone monitoring her condition that can call the doctor and you as soon as a health problem arises.
- If your mom’s health situation is more precarious, you could consider home health care which gives medical attention as well as help with everyday tasks.
- Gives the family peace of mind knowing that mom (grandma) isn’t alone every day and there’s someone watching over her and taking care of her.
CHF is a chronic condition. That means it doesn’t get cured or go away. It just means that sometimes the symptoms are worse and sometimes they are better. Therefore it is a condition that should be taken seriously.
Your elderly mom’s doctor can tell you what specific symptoms to look for in her individual case to know when she needs immediate medical attention for CHF.
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