Congestive Heart Failure Life Expectancy

Congestive heart failure or CHF is a heart condition that involves a weakening of the heart muscle so that it cannot pump blood to the body as it normally should. The pressure builds up inside the heart itself so that the heart dilates and doesn't get the oxygen it needs to pump. Fluid can build up inside the lungs, in the peripheral tissues, and inside the kidneys. If you have congestive heart failure, you may be wondering what the life expectancy is. This article will address the issue.

Congestive Heart Failure Life Expectancy

There is no single answer. It depends a great deal on how severe the heart failure is and on any other health problems you may be suffering from.

Medical science has advanced to the point that more people survive the disease than ever before; about half the patients will live up to five years from the time of diagnosis. If the individual has advanced disease, 90 percent or more of these people will die within a year. Moderately affected individuals will live on average about ten years or more.

The biggest problem with CHF is that it is often not diagnosed until the disease is in its late stages. If you can identify the disease early enough, your odds of living a longer and healthier life will improve greatly through some lifestyle changes and medications you get from your doctor.

The following video will help you know CHF symptoms so that you can pay attention to that and get it diagnosed early.

Live With Congestive Heart Failure

If you are among the nearly six million US citizens living with the CHF, and you have known the congestive heart failure life expectancy, you should also know about the various measures you can take that will help you control the symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue, and peripheral edema, among others. These measures can do a great deal when it comes to reducing your chances of ending up hospitalized for the disease.

1.  Take Your Prescriptions

There are many drugs that directly treat heart failure and you should consider taking them as prescribed for as long as your doctor recommends you take them. This will prolong the congestive heart life expectancy rate dramatically. Some drugs take fluid off the body, others thin the blood, others decrease blood pressure, and others contain potassium as a supplement. Many people with CHF are also taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack. See if your doctor can prescribe medications that are only taken once daily because this will be easier for you to remember and you will have a better chance of taking them as directed.

2.  Reduce Sodium Intake

People with heart failure need to take in less than 2 grams of sodium each day. This means using less salt to the foods you eat as possible and use various seasonings and spices to add flavor. You should eliminate things like pickles, cheese, and cold cuts in your diet because they contain a great deal of sodium. Salt substitutes are also not good options. Rather than eating processed foods, you should make food from scratch so you know how much sodium goes into the food. Make sure you read the package labeling, which can tell you how much sodium is in the food you are eating.

3.  Don't Smoke or Drink Alcohol

Tobacco smoke is high in toxins,which include carbon monoxide that can block the ability of the heart to pump oxygen through the body. In addition, alcohol can weaken the heart, lowering the congestive heart failure life expectancy rates. Excessive alcohol consumption can also result in CHF and worsening of the condition.

4.  Get Daily Weights

The condition of your CHF can fluctuate widely so that if you rapidly gain weight, you might be having an exacerbation of your congestive heart failure. Tell your doctor if you find that you have gained more than three pounds in one day or five pounds in a single week. Weigh yourself at the same time each day, usually after voiding and before breakfast. If you are already overweight, you should consider losing weight through a sensible diet and exercise. The extra weight you are carrying only stresses out the heart more.

5.  Journal Daily

In your journal, you should record your blood pressure and weight each day and document any changes in your symptoms. Call the doctor if your blood pressure fluctuates too high or too low. Every time you see your doctor, bring the journal along, so your doctor can follow it too.

6.  Get Regular Exercise

You should exercise daily but should forego exercising in humid or very hot conditions. Don't do any kind of exercise that involves carrying, lifting, pushing, or pulling. These can exacerbate CHF and aren't really good for a weak heart. Talk to your doctor or qualified trainer about how to best exercise.

7.  Keep Up to Date on Immunizations

People with CHF can have serious infections with pneumonia and influenza. Fortunately, there are immunizations for these illnesses and you should get your shots when your doctor recommends them. An annual flu shot is essential as is the shot for pneumococcal pneumonia.

8.  Rest Well

You need to try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night and you may also need to take a nap in the afternoon. If you have serious CHF, you may notice that the shortness of breath is worse when you are lying down. If you notice this, make sure to lie down on a couple of pillows to keep your head elevated. Let your heart rest throughout the day by keeping your feet up every once in a while.

9.  Call Your Doctor

In order to improve your congestive heart failure life expectancy, you need to tell the doctor of any symptoms that are bothering you. This includes changes in breathing, weight changes, or decreased urination. There may be medications your doctor will prescribe for you to take in case of an exacerbation of CHF. 

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