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Enjoy the Highest Quality of Life Possible With Congestive Heart Failure

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									Enjoy the Highest Quality of Life Possible With Congestive Heart Failure

There is no doubt about it, cardiac complications can impact every corner
of life, forcing patients to forego activities they previously enjoyed
and causing them to feel as though they have sacrificed their life to
save it. There are, however, many steps patients can take to allow them
to enjoy life even after having been diagnosed with heart failure.

Congestive heart failure occurs when the cells of the heart are unable to
constrict properly and pump blood through the body. This results in edema
throughout the body, particularly in and around the lungs and is the
cause of the dyspnea that is typical of heart failure. To counteract
this, patients should take any diuretics prescribed by their doctor and
maintain a low sodium diet, allowing the excess fluid to leave through
the renal system and making it easier for the patient to breathe. Daily
exercise is important; it is not necessary that it be vigorous, patients
should consult with their physician prior to embarking on an exercise
regime to ensure that they will not be taxing their heart unnecessarily.
It is possible that if a patient has previously enjoyed activities that
put a great deal of strain on the heart they will find it necessary to
restrict themselves to less stressful endeavors; however, with the proper
precautions many physical activities are still permitted.

The heart pumps blood more easily when the body is at rest; therefore, it
is essential that patients with heart failure schedule time daily to
rest. They may sit and read or watch television, take a nap or meditate;
any activity that allows the body time to recharge. Meditation is being
considered as a possible method of treatment for patients suffering from
heart failure; meditation causes the heart to beat slower, blood pressure
to normalize, the muscles to use oxygen more efficiently and the body to
produce less adrenaline. All of these factors make it easier for the
heart to function.

Any patient suffering from heart failure should abstain from smoking.
Inhaling nicotine causes the body's blood pressure and heart rate to
increase, less oxygen to reach the muscles and an increased clumping and
stickiness in blood vessels that may impede blood flow. All of these
factors cause the heart to beat harder in an attempt to compensate,
placing more stress on an already weak heart.

Patients should also avoid flu and pneumonia as much as possible,
avoiding crowded areas during cold and flu season and receiving both an
annual influenza vaccination and at least one dose of the pneumococcal
vaccine (this will provide some protection against pneumococcal bacteria,
the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia). The decreased oxygen in
the blood resulting from either flu or pneumonia will result in the heart
pumping harder in an attempt to compensate.

Everything in their life affects a patient's well being when they are
suffering from congestive heart failure, right down to their clothing.
These patients should avoid restrictive clothing and stockings as much as
possible, as these items present an increased risk for clotting and a
blockage of blood to the extremities. They should also avoid temperature
extremes as much as possible and dress appropriately for the weather; the
body must work much harder to maintain temperature when it is either
extremely hot or extremely cold.

The most beneficial thing that patients suffering from heart failure can
do to allow them to enjoy their life is to enjoy their life. The negative
effects of stress on the heart are well documented, and patients who live
a stress free existence create a much better environment for their heart
than those who are unhappy or overworked. So by maintaining a positive
mental state, patients are able to help themselves both emotionally and
physically.

								
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