Congestive heart failure, or CHF, is a condition that occurs when the heart isn’t pumping blood as efficiently as it should. Congestive heart failure can be caused by high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and other conditions. Those with CHF sometimes experience flare-ups, or sudden worsening of symptoms, making it important to know what to watch for and what to do if any red flags are noted.
Pay attention to changes such as:
- Sudden weight gain. Gaining three or more pounds in a matter of a day or two could be caused by fluid retention, and excess fluid can worsen CHF. You should weigh yourself each day and maintain a record of your daily weight so you’ll notice any changes immediately.
- Swollen feet, legs or abdomen. This is a result of fluid buildup, and can be painful or cause nausea and/or constipation. Call the doctor right away if you notice that your legs, feet or abdomen are swollen.
- Coughing/shortness of breath. These are often caused by too much fluid in the lungs, making it hard to breathe freely. Watch for shortness of breath when performing simple tasks, such as getting dressed; shortness of breath while resting or lying down, or waking up in the night feeling as though it’s hard to breathe. Let the doctor know at your next appointment if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms. If they get worse or become severe, call the doctor right away.
- Rapid heartbeat. If your heart is racing or feels irregular, call the doctor. It could indicate a congestive heart failure flare-up.
- Lethargy. Some level of tiredness is normal with CHF, but if you suddenly become unusually fatigued and notice any other red flags, call the doctor.
If you or a loved one has congestive heart failure and begins to feel faint, is experiencing chest pain that doesn’t go away with rest, feels dizzy or confused or can’t breathe, call 911 immediately.
Stay Home Care can help those with congestive heart failure monitor their condition and assist with daily activities. Contact us any time at 615-964-7726 to learn more about our professional Brentwood home health care services and the surrounding communities we serve.