Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
I have congestive heart failure. What is
Your heart has lost some
ability to pump blood. This can cause shortness of breath, weakness and fluid
buildup. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is serious, but many treatments can help
you feel better. If you know a lot about CHF, you have a good chance of staying
out of the hospital.
The most common causes of CHF
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Heart attacks
- Too much alcohol
- Viral infection of the heart
What can I do to help my
Salt and salty foods (like
canned vegetables or soups, chips and pizza) in your diet can cause your body to
retain water. Talk to your doctor about salt substitutes because they contain
potassium and may not be a good idea for you to take. This will depend on your
kidney function and what drugs you are taking. Some people need extra potassium
but other people don’t.
drinking a small amount of alcohol (one drink a day) seems to be helpful in some
people with heart disease, drinking too much may cause heart failure and
interfere with medicines. Ask your doctor if any amount of alcohol is safe for
Keep your blood pressure well
controlled. High blood pressure strains your heart and further weakens it.
You’ll be healthier if you
exercise. Ask your doctor to recommend an exercise program for you.
Talk to your doctor before you take
any medicine. Common arthritis medicines like naproxen (brand name: Naprosyn)
and ibuprofen (brand name: Advil) can cause fluid retention.
When should I call my doctor?
Talk to your doctor if you have
any of the following:
- Shortness of breath that gets worse
- A gain of more than 5 pounds in one week
- Leg swelling that is new for you
- Coughing or wheezing in the night, or needing to
sleep propped up or sitting up
- Chest pain or a heavy feeling in your chest
- Side effects from the medicine
- Failure to lose weight even though you take more