Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart muscle has been weakened and therefore cannot pump blood to the rest of the body effectively.
It may be caused by high blood pressure, rheumatic heart disease, or atherosclerosis.
Symptoms include shortness of breath; tiredness; swelling of the ankles, legs, and feet (edema); cough; rapid weight gain (from edema); and mental confusion.
Treatment of congestive heart failure depends on both the severity of symptoms and the underlying cause of the illness.
Usual treatment consists of:
– a low salt/sodium diet
– diuretics (water pills)
– and digitalis, which strengthens the heart muscle.
1. Control high blood pressure, if present, and check yearly for high blood pressure if blood pressure is now within normal range.
2. Stop smoking.
3. Exercise regularly. Brisk walking or swimming are good ways to maintain cardiac health.
4. Maintain ideal weight.
5. Cut down on animal fats, watch salt intake, eat a variety of foods lean meats, poultry, fish, low fat dairy products, whole grain breads and cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables.
6. Drink plenty of water.
7. Get enough rest and relaxation.
8. Reduce or control emotional stress.