Warning Signs of Congestive Heart Failure
If you are tasked with caring for an aging family member or another loved one with a history of heart issues, it is essential that you know how to spot heart failure when it happens. Contrary to what the name might suggest, heart failure doesn’t mean that the heart stops working entirely or in an instant. Heart failure can lead to disastrous health incidents, such as a heart attack, but heart failure is actually a degenerative condition that occurs in a series of stages.
If heart failure is detected sooner rather than later, one may be able to access important treatments that could slow or even halt its progression from one stage to the next. In order to detect heart failure and help preserve your loved one’s health, you will need to know what heart failure does to the body, who is at risk, and how it manifests itself.
What Is Heart Failure?
As mentioned, heart failure is less of a one-time event and more of a slow progression toward complete deterioration of the heart and circulatory system. It occurs when the heart becomes less able to pump blood through the heart and throughout the body. When the heart weakens, blood doesn’t move through the heart as quickly, which can create painful pressure inside the heart. The heart’s valves and chambers stretch to accommodate the increased volume of blood and then tend to harden, reducing the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body efficiently.
When the heart is too weak to properly pump blood through the heart and throughout the body, the kidneys react by causing the body to retain more fluid and salt than normal. This can create painful fluid build-up in the body’s various organs, known as congestion.
Thankfully, a heart failure diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence, though it is serious. Even if a person has heart failure, their health can be maintained and the condition can typically be kept from worsening, if treated properly and early enough.
For help keeping an eye on your loved one’s heart health, get in touch with At Home Healthcare by calling (877) 959-9093 today.
How to Spot Heart Failure
It can be difficult to detect because its individual symptoms do not create much cause for concern right off the bat. Perk up if you notice that your aging loved one is experiencing any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Rapid heart rate: Sometimes the heart will work harder and beat faster to make up for its blood buildup and decreased functional capacity. A faster-than-normal heart rate can be a sign that something is seriously wrong.
- Swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet: Fluid buildup resulting from heart failure often shows up most apparently in the joints and appendages of the lower body. If your loved one complains of difficulty walking, flexing joints, etc., be sure to investigate the cause.
- Significant increase or decrease in weight: If your loved one is losing weight, it may be because they are experiencing a loss of appetite resulting from congestion of digestive organs. If they are rapidly gaining weight, it could be because their body is retaining much more fluid than normal.
- Difficulty breathing or getting enough air: This can be a sign that your loved one’s lungs are congested and full of fluid. If your loved one experiences shortness of breath even while sitting or lying down, seek medical attention immediately.
Even knowing these symptoms, heart failure can be challenging to identify because it tends to occur in conjunction with other serious health problems, such as:
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure
- Valve disease
There are many other conditions that may be tied in with heart failure. In order to ensure your loved one is being monitored for possible heart issues that could stem from existing health problems, you will need to call in reinforcements.
At Home Healthcare Is Proud to Partner with You in Keeping Your Loved One Safe, Happy, and Heart-Healthy.
All of our experienced, compassionate caregivers are trained to keep an eye out for serious health issues and signs of life-threatening problems, such as congestive heart failure. We can help you ensure your loved one is being regularly assessed for signs of heart trouble in order to preserve their health and well-being for as long as possible.
If you are in need of respite care, in-home nursing, or other home care in Texas, call (877) 959-9093 today, or send us a message to request care for your loved one.