Congestive heart failure is a condition where the heart fails to pump blood around the body as it should. Since the blood is not pumped efficiently, fluids tend to build up, especially in the body’s extremities. The symptoms can include extreme fatigue, inability to exercise without tiring, shortness of breath, and swelling. The causes are varied and can include many factors. Treatments may also vary by patient, but there are some important steps that a person can take when the diagnosis has been made.

Lifestyle Changes
During the early stages of congestive heart failure, lifestyle changes may be all that are necessary to alleviate some of the symptoms. First, you may be instructed to limit the fluids you consume. Additionally, you will likely have to stick to a low sodium diet which will help your body not retain extra fluids. Alleviating stress is also a good idea.

Engage in Exercise
Also, important is regular exercise. However, you must be sure that you are doing the right type and amount of movement. Your doctor can instruct you on the type and intensity of exercises that will be most beneficial to your condition. Following these instructions carefully is critical.

Stop Smoking
If the patient is a smoker, the diagnosis of congestive heart failure is a definite reason to quit. The smoke can lessen the already diminished function of the lungs and make it harder for him to breathe. Even if a caretaker is the smoker, quitting is still essential because the second-hand smoke is just as bad for the lungs. And, should the patient need oxygen therapy at any point, cigarettes are definitely not permitted due to the flammability of oxygen.

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Take Medication

There are many different medications that may be helpful for a person with congestive heart failure. ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and diuretics, among others, play important roles in many treatment plans. The medications that are right for you will be determined by your physician.

Obtain Medical Equipment
During later stages of congestive heart failure, your doctor may recommend that you have oxygen therapy at home. This will require medical equipment that can be obtained from a place like Home Medical. Their respiratory therapist can help you learn to use the needed equipment and answer any questions that arise. Oxygen use can ease symptoms and help the heart to lighten its workload.

No matter what stage of congestive heart failure you may be in, following some simple steps can help alleviate symptoms. It can also help you to help your heart work more efficiently for a longer period of time. Visit your doctor for all scheduled appointments to be sure that you are doing everything that is possible to benefit your condition.