Congestive Heart Failure Treatment
There are approximately 5 million Americans living with congestive heart failure (CHF). There are 600,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Congestive heart failure affects everyone from children to the elderly. As a cardiac nurse, CHF is one of the most frequent causes of admissions and re-admissions. Today, the lifespan of people diagnosed with CHF has greatly increased because of groundbreaking medications and improved technology.
Once the patient is admitted, we start the standard treatment. The gold standard diagnostic test is a chest X-ray. This X-ray will show if the lungs are congested. The first line drug is Lasix. With CHF, the body is not able to push the fluids through the body. Therefore, the fluid will stagnant in the legs, arms, heart, and abdomen. Next, the physician will most like order an Ace Inhibitor and/or a Beta blocker. These medications have been shown to strengthen the left ventricle.
Risk Factors for Heart Failure
Diseases that damage your heart also increase your risk of heart failure. Some of these diseases include
- Coronary heart disease (the most common type of heart disease) and heart attacks.
- High blood pressure.
Unhealthy behaviors can also increase your risk for heart failure, especially for people who have one of the diseases listed above. Unhealthy behaviors include
- Smoking tobacco.
- Eating foods high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
- Not getting enough physical activity.
- Being obese.
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure
Common symptoms of heart failure include:
- Shortness of breath during daily activities.
- Having trouble breathing when lying down.
- Weight gain with swelling in the feet, legs, ankles, or stomach.
- Generally feeling tired or weak.
Treating Congestive Heart Failure
Early diagnosis and treatment can improve quality and length of life for people who have heart failure. Treatment usually involves taking medications, reducing sodium in the diet, and getting daily physical activity. People with heart failure also track their symptoms each day so that they can discuss these symptoms with their healthcare team.