Heart Failure – What You Can Do
Heart Failure is also known as Congestive Heart Failure. Many seniors eventually suffer from this disorder as they age. It is a chronic condition but manageable and affects nearly 6 million persons.
The following suggestions will help the senior to stay well and out of the hospital. These can be called “RED FLAGS’. Keep this list on your refrigerator.
- Watch for signs that your condition may be getting worse. These include weight gain, swelling in the legs and ankles, swelling in the abdomen and an unexpected weight loss. All of these together or separately should be told to your doctor.
- Watches for shortness of breathe on exertion, climbing steps and doing light exercise. Again this will be a noted change and should be reported to your doctor.
- Don’t smoke. Quit if you do. Ask your doctor to help you and or join a “quit smoking program”.
- Do exercise daily. Walking a half hour daily at a pace comfortable for you will be helpful. Always check with your doctor prior to staring an exercise program.
- Limit your alcohol intake to a drink per day. Not 8 ounces per drink-more like 3-4 ounces.
- Reduce your intake of salt and water. Ask your doctor what your limits are and stick to them. It is helpful not to cook with salt and leave it off your table. Use Mrs. Dash instead. Remember all changes take time to get used to so don’t give up if your taste buds talk to you and say NO at the change.
- Ask your doctor what your salt intake is for daily use. Remember that all canned foods, process meats are higher in salt (sodium). Fresh vegetables and frozen are much lower in salt content. Cook turkey and chicken to use as meats for sandwiches. Soups canned are high in salt. Begin to get used to looking at the label to see the sodium content. The higher the number the worse the product is for you.
- Take your medicines as prescribed by your physician. Do not change their times nor dosage on your own just because you are feeling better. You are feeling better because of your lifestyle changes and your medications. Do not SKIP DOSAGES. If your routine is working don’t change it on your own.
- Keep regular contact with you doctor and keep all appointments. Do all the tests and blood work required by your physician, A cardiologist may be helpful to see.
- Visit hopkinsmedicine.org/healthseminars on the internet for more information.
- Keep yourself abreast of information on the internet but always ask your physician what he thinks about the information.
By: Hazel Kuchsinsky, APRN-BC, . is a community reporter and Charter Member with The Village Connector Community News. She the CEO of Ivory House Health Services, a Nursing Care Management Company and Residential Services Agency.