Many people diagnosed with congestive heart failure view the disease as an automatic death sentence. While this is a serious and life threatening disease, if caught in the early stages, many people continue to live a long and rewarding life with proper medical treatment and some lifestyle changes.
Prognosis For Early Stage Congestive Heart Failure
If you have been diagnosed in the early stages of congestive heart failure, before your heart muscles become too enlarged or weakened, you have a good chance of living many more years and enjoying life with proper care. In some cases, the causes of this condition can be reversed, thus preventing further damage to your heart.
Being Proactive In Your Own Health
While it is important for everyone to be proactive in their own health care, it is vitally important that those with congestive heart failure be extremely proactive, as a good deal of the prognosis for your condition will lie in your own hands.
You need to discuss with your doctor what you can do to slow the progress of this disease, and then follow his directions immediately. In many cases, living with congestive heart failure means making some major lifestyle changes, including complete changes in diet, exercise, and even the way you sleep.
In most cases, it also means becoming atuned to your body, and especially your heart’s needs, and listening to what it is telling you.
One of the most important things that you can do to live a good quality of life with congestive heart failure is to watch your body fluids. Reducing sodium intake will help to keep your body from retaining excess fluids, and diuretics will help to reduce some of the fluid build up in your cells.
However, you may need to also reduce your fluid intake, which can be quite difficult, especially in the beginning stages.
Sucking on ice chips can help to reduce your fluid intake while helping to prevent you from feeling an overwhelming thirst. Rinsing your mouth out when needed can help you to prevent dry mouth as can chewing on gum.
Major Changes In Diet
For those with congestive heart failure, major changes in diet are often necessary. You will not only need to give up all those processed foods as they are extremely high in sodium, but you will need to eat as many fresh foods as possible, and learn to season your food with seasonings other than that salt shaker.
Fresh fruit with all of its antioxidants should become a food of choice as should a number of healthy vegetables that are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Because your heart is weaker and must work harder than most peoples, maintaining overall good health is essential. The less often you catch a cold, the flu or other illness, the better it will be for your heart.
Exercise is extremely important to those with congestive heart failure. However, your doctor may advise against any exercise that forces your heart to pump too fast, especially if you are retaining a lot of fluid.
Walking is often the recommended exercise for people with congestive heart failure, and leisurely strolls can help keep you in shape and aid in weight loss without over-stressing your heart.
Riding a stationary bike may also be approved, as long as you keep the pace so as to not force your heart to work harder than it is capable of.
People with congestive heart failure, even those in the beginning stages, will have times when they feel weak. This is due to the fact that your muscles, cells, and organs don’t always get the amount of oxygen they need to perform certain tasks.
You will need to learn how to break up tasks so that you can rest for a few minutes when weakness occurs. However, don’t use your condition to become a couch potato, because mild exercise is necessary to help your heart pump that blood throughout your body, in order for your cells to get the oxygen they need.
Don’t Dwell On Your Condition
While you do need to be aware of your condition and the limitations it sometimes imposes, you should not dwell on it. Staying active, living a healthy lifestyle, and maintaining interest in a variety of things, will do more for your health than all the medicine in the world.
Living life as fully and as joyfully as possible is the real key to living with congestive heart failure.
Do you, a family member, friend or neighbour suffer from congestive heart failure? How does it impact on your life?