When people hear the words “heart failure,” they often think it means the heart has completely stopped working. Congestive heart failure doesn’t mean the heart has stopped working; it refers to the fact that the heart is working less efficiently than it should. If your parent has congestive heart failure, his blood moves slower through the heart and the body and there’s a greater pressure on his heart to perform. That then causes less oxygen to be pumped through the body to meet the body’s needs so many areas of the body begin to feel the effects of congestive heart failure. The congestive part of the disease occurs when the kidneys start to react to these conditions by retaining fluid and salt. This retention of fluids then begins to build up in the arms, legs and even other organs, causing the body to become congested.
If you’re not well versed about congestive heart failure, you may not know that the symptoms of congestive heart failure don’t always seem to involve the heart. Often these other symptoms in the body, that are a complication of congestive heart disease, are what get a patient into the doctor for an exam and then congestive heart failure is discovered. If heart disease is something that your family has a history with, it’ll will be beneficial for you, your parent, and other caregivers, such as your elder care provider to be cognizant of the symptoms so you can seek treatment and relief once if they occur.
- Swelling or edema of feet, legs, and ankles. While there can be other causes of edema that are occasional, if your parent is consistently dealing with an excess amount of fluids trapped in her extremities, it might indicate he has congestive heart failure.
- Fatigue or weakness. If your parent is feeling extremely fatigued or weak without any other cause, it might be that his body is not getting enough oxygen. This is something that loved ones or caregivers such as elder care providers often notice before the individual notices this change.
- Shortness of breath. If your parent is struggling to catch his breath after little or no exertion, it could be a symptom of his heart not working like it should.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat. Does your parent complain of feeling like his heart is going to explode out of his chest or that it’s beating rapidly for no reason? Congestive heart failure might be the reason.
- Persistent cough with a pink-tinged phlegm. If your parent has a cough he can’t seem to shake and then seems to get worse when he exerts himself, it might be an indicator of congestive heart failure.
- Difficulty concentrating and/or decreased alertness. If your parent’s brain is not getting enough oxygen pumped to it, he might begin to notice a change in his ability to concentrate or focus on mental tasks.
- Increased need to urinate at night. While this can happen naturally as a parent gets older, if he’s struggling with this in addition to the other symptoms, it might be linked to his heart’s ability to work properly.
Congestive heart failure is a serious condition that needs monitoring and treatment. Bring your parent in for a thorough exam if you suspect he may be developing congestive heart failure.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Elder Care in Pinecrest, FL please contact the caring staff at Elite Care At Home today at (305) 231-0555.
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