Heart failure is a serious condition that happens when your heart cannot pump enough blood to meet your body's needs. As a result, blood "backs up" in your lungs or in other parts of your body, such as your legs, feet, hands or belly. Heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped or is going to stop working.
What are some of the causes of heart failure?
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Larger than normal heart
- Abnormal heart valves
- Serious lung disease
- Low red blood cell count
- Overactive thyroid
- Abnormal heart beat
- Ask your nurse for more information on any of these conditions.
What are the symptoms that heart failure is getting worse?
- Sudden weight gain: two to three pounds or more in a day, or a weight gain of a pound a day over several days
- Swelling of the legs, ankles or feet
- Swelling, bloating or pain in the belly
- Trouble sleeping unless propped up on two or more pillows
- Shortness of breath (may be all the time, with activity or only when you wake up)
- Frequent, dry, hacking cough, usually when you are lying down
- Loss of appetite or nausea
- Getting very tired from hardly any effort
How is heart failure treated?
Taking good care of yourself is key to controlling heart failure. This means:
- Taking your medicines as your doctor orders
- Using less salt (sodium) in your diet
- Staying away from alcoholic drinks
- Exercising and staying active
- Checking your weight every day. Take action right away when it goes up
- Checking for symptoms. Take action right away when they occur
- Seeing your doctor regularly
To find out more about our home healthcare services, call: 800-862-2166.