Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a serious disease that creates excessive fluid from retention of sodium. In times past, the disease was irreversible, but modern technology has found ways to reverse CHF and restore the heart to a healthier state. So, can congestive heart failure be reversed? The short answer is yes.
Congestive heart failure is a very common medical condition. Approximated 4.5 million Americans are diagnosed with congestive heart failure currently and another 450,000 annually receive the diagnosis. The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to the frequency of patients diagnosed with the disease.
One of the things that make CHF so serious is the fact that it requires readmission to the hospital frequently. It also creates a variety of debilitating symptoms for patients and affects their overall quality of life. Congestive heart failure is most common in individuals age 60 and over but can be present in younger individuals that suffer from a weak heart due to previous complications.
Congestive heart failure develops from a weakening heart and normally begins to affect individuals later in life. As the heart weakens, it cannot process the fluid and it builds up. There are many reasons that congestive heart failure develops in patients.
Causes can range from a heart attack to previous heart issues. Anything that creates a weakness in the heart and prevents it from functioning normally.
The primary symptoms of congestive heart failure include a buildup of fluid in many parts of the body, including the lungs, feet, hands, and abdomen. This fluid buildup can also greatly affect the quality of life for an individual. In addition to the fluid build up, some of the other symptoms that patients have include trouble breathing, tiredness, and trouble with prolonged activities.
These symptoms continue for prolonged periods of time because the heart is weak and even moderate activity is a strain on the heart's function. Even sleeping can be a challenge for people that have CHF. They may continually wake up in the night to reposition themselves and tend to use pillows to prop themselves up as they sleep.
Diagnosing CHF usually requires either an echocardiogram or heart catheterization. These methods are the normal procedures for detecting the build-up of fluid and can point out a weak heartbeat. A diagnosis of congestive heart failure used to mean that the patient would have issues for the rest of their lives, however, now there are treatments available that can actually reverse the effects of the disease.
So, how can congestive heart failure be reversed?
There are several medications in use today that can effectively control the symptoms of CHF and improve overall blood flow. There are also implantable defibrillators that can correct a weak heartbeat, which improves patient function. Something that can reverse the condition includes changes in the diet that eliminate sodium completely. Sodium intake directly affects fluid retention and can further deteriorate the function of the hearing. Other dietary changes such as eliminated highly processed and preserved foods can help the heart operate more efficiently and can help to prolong a patient's life.
Exercise is needed to help improve the symptoms of CHF over the long term course of treatment. Another highly effective way to control CHF is to lose weight if you are overweight and maintain the ideal body weight in conjunction with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. Patients no longer need to suffer from this condition for the rest of their lives. The ability to reverse the effects lie in the proper treatment with medication and a change in lifestyle that promotes healthier living and better choices. Patients today have more choices than ever to become more healthy.
Although many people will receive a congestive heart failure diagnosis, it doesn't mean that they are going to suffer from the disease for the rest of their life as was thought previously. The symptoms respond positively to new medications and changes in lifestyle.