Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic heart condition that leads to reduced blood flow to the body because of the reduced ability of the heart to pump efficiently. After diagnosis your cardiologist or primary care physician will recommend treatment protocols based on your current health, any underlying medical conditions and the causative factor for the CHF.
Any heart failure is a very serious problem and is often a chronic problem. This means that once diagnosed you will have congestive heart failure for the rest of your life. The prognosis of your condition, or your long-term outlook, is dependent upon several factors.
The first factor is your overall general health. Individuals who are diagnosed with congestive heart failure by who are healthy overall have a better long term prognosis than those who are diagnosed with congestive heart failure and already carry several other underlying chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer or kidney failure.
Another factor in the prognosis for individuals who have congestive heart failure is the underlying medical condition which caused the heart failure in the first place. In other words, if the causative factor was cardiomyopathy or an infection in the heart muscle, irreversible damage may have already been done or the illness may have been caught at an early enough stage. Individuals who suffer from heart valve abnormalities may be able to have the valves surgically replaced and the once remove or correct the underlying causative factor.
Lifestyle choices that you make will also have a significant impact on your overall prognosis. Individuals who continue to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, get little to no rest and push their bodies to the limit will have a reduced lifespan than those who choose to quit smoking, quit drinking and get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night.
The previous factor for improving your prognosis with congestive heart failure is also related to the likelihood that you will or will not be compliant with your medical protocols. Many individuals who suffer from congestive heart failure will have a variety of medications which may be prescribed over their lifetime.
The efficacy and efficiency of these medications is dependent upon whether or not the individual takes the medication in the prescribed fashion and at the correct time. If you routinely forget to take your medicines, drink too much fluids, don’t keep track of any weight fluctuations and don’t limit your salt intake then the likelihood is that the medications will not work as effectively as they should and it will reduce your lifespan.
Although losing weight is a significant challenge those individuals who maintain a normal weight will often have a better prognosis than those individuals who remain obese. Talk with your primary care physician or cardiologist about the amount of exercise which you should get every day. Walking or riding a stationary bicycle can provide a safe plan to maintain your heart function. Do not exercise on days where you have the increased weight because the fluid retention or because you are not feeling well. Allow your heart to rest after exercise and keep your feet elevated to decrease swelling.
Possible complications from congestive heart failure include irregular heart rhythms, pulmonary edema or total heart failure. You may also suffer side effects from the medications including cough, headache, low blood pressure, muscle cramps or light-headedness. You should discuss any side effects with your physician and determine a protocol that will allow you to live without side effects and yet effectively treat your congestive heart failure.
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