Congestive Heart Failure is a scary diagnosis. This long-term condition often leaves patients feeling weak and tired. The good news is that living with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is possible with the help of professional rehabilitation services. They help patients maintain strength and mobility, which are essential to managing the condition.
What is Congestive Heart Failure?
Unlike a sudden heart attack, Congestive Heart Failure is a chronic condition. In patients with CHF, the heart doesn’t stop working; its ability to pump blood is simply reduced. As blood moves through the body more slowly, the body is deprived of oxygen and essential nutrients.
Because CHF affects blood flow, it can impact the entire body. In response to the heart’s slowdown, the kidneys often make the body retain fluid. This fluid builds up in the lungs and other organs, and also in the arms, legs, and feet. This “congestion” of fluids is how Congestive Heart Failure got its name.
What are the Causes of Congestive Heart Failure?
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), over 6 million people have CHF, with nearly a million new cases diagnosed each year. As with many chronic conditions, age is a factor, as well as other heart conditions – like previous heart attacks or Coronary Artery Disease. Other medical conditions can also be a factor in CHF; high blood pressure, kidney disease, and diabetes all put a strain on the heart, especially in older adults.
What is the Prognosis for Congestive Heart Failure?
According to the AHA, Congestive Heart Failure is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization in patients over 65. As a chronic illness, CHF can be difficult to treat or reverse, but with the right mindset and help from qualified professionals, patients can live productive lives while managing the condition.
How Do I Manage Congestive Heart Failure?
According to the AHA, patients who are willing and able to make lifestyle changes often have the greatest success in living with Congestive Heart Failure. A personalized rehab program is a vital component of a patient’s care, providing the patient with the resources, support, and treatments needed to improve their quality of life. With this guidance and assistance, patients feel better and remain active.
The right rehab facility will help a patient develop a program of care that is customized to his or her needs. Program factors include diet, medication management, physical activity, and psychological counseling to reduce stress.
Exercise is crucial to managing CHF, yet many patients are too weak to begin an exercise program right away. To overcome this obstacle, promising new technologies like electrical stimulation are being used to help rehabilitate patients. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), trials conducted over the last ten years indicate an improvement in muscle strength and in a patient’s ability to exercise following electrical stimulation.
What Diet Changes Do I Need to Make with Congestive Heart Failure?
One of the most significant lifestyle changes you can make with CHF is with your diet. Doctors agree that reducing salt consumption is key. Sodium causes your body to retain water, creating more work for your heart. Other recommendations include eating more leafy greens, peas, beans, and other nutrient-rich plants. High fiber fruits, nuts and seeds, and whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice can also benefit heart health. Patients are also encouraged to substitute meats with fish high in healthy fats.
Congestive Heart Failure Rehab at Evergreen Health & Rehab
At Evergreen Health & Rehab, one of our specialties is providing long-term services for CHF. Our experienced professionals will start your care with an evaluation to define your needs and limitations. We will go over all of the critical aspects of treatment, including diet, medication, and emotional well-being, and we will create an exercise program tailored to your abilities.
For patients too weak to exercise, our gentle electrical stimulation program can improve circulation and muscle strength – and reduce fluid retention – in the arms, legs, and body. Once patients feel stronger, they can exercise again. Electrical stimulation is also a great addition to light exercise programs.
Living with CHF is challenging, but with the right support, patients can have fruitful and happy lives. At Evergreen, our goal is to help patients overcome the negative side effects of CHF. With a tailored rehab program, patients can stay strong and active.