What is Congestive Heart Failure?
Congestive heart failure, or CHF, is a chronic condition in which the heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. Heart failure can occur if the heart cannot pump or fill adequately. This may cause an excess buildup of fluid in the lungs, liver, abdomen or lower extremities.
Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen legs, inability to exercise, and rapid, irregular heartbeat.
Treating congestive heart failure may include eating less salt, limiting fluid intake, and taking prescription medications. Your doctor may implant a defibrillator or pacemaker as needed.
How can you manage your congestive heart failure?
Managing congestive heart failure means keeping your breathing regular and staying healthy. Diet plays an important role when it comes to heart health. Cut back on salt intake and maintain a healthy weight.
What can you do?
Talk with your doctor about what causes your symptoms and how best to manage them.
Some things your care plan should include are:
- Give up smoking
- Eat right and exercise
- Limit or eliminate alcohol
- Manage your other chronic symptoms
- Reducing stress
- Continuing taking prescribed medications
- Weigh yourself daily
Discuss your congestive heart failure care plan with your provider.
Your plan needs to take into account your schedule, how active you are, your cultural background, and other medical problems you may have.
You need to be involved in creating your care plan. Otherwise it’s unlikely that the plan will fit into your life or that you will understand what you need to do. For more information and resources go to http://www.heart.org/.
How Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW) can help
As your health plan, CHPW wants you to feel your best every day. You may want to take advantage of the following resources:
- Health Risk Assessment (HRA). A health risk assessment looks at your whole health through a series of questions about your physical, mental, and emotional health. CHPW can give you an HRA over the phone.
- Quit for Life program. Ready to quit smoking? Get peer-to-peer support and personalized coaching at no cost to you.
- One-on-one counseling with a registered dietitian. CHPW’s health coaching team can help you build healthy daily habits that are shown to help people with congestive heart failure feel better.