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How to Support a Loved One Who’s Diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure (CHF) can be a surprising diagnosis; some people have few symptoms or aren’t aware they have heart problems.

However, managing CHF, even in the absence of symptoms, improves outcomes and can help patients live longer, experience fewer complications and hospitalizations, and feel better. 

If someone you love has congestive heart failure, you can provide practical and emotional support. Here, the expert providers at Heart & Vascular Institute offer tips on how to help. 

The basics of CHF

Congestive heart failure means your heart isn’t doing a good enough job pumping blood. It has a variety of causes and can affect people in different ways. 

The most common cause of CHF is ischemic heart disease, usually related to coronary artery disease. With coronary artery disease, plaque builds up in the blood vessels that bring blood to your heart, making the vessels narrower and stiffer. 

Blood flow is restricted because your arteries are narrower, meaning less blood and oxygen reach your heart. That can cause chest pain or lead to a heart attack. It can also cause CHF. 

Symptoms of CHF

A person with CHF may not have any symptoms or may have so many that even simple, day-to-day activities are difficult. Common symptoms include: 

Providing support

Lifestyle changes are often the key to managing CHF. If you’ve ever tried to adopt a new habit, you know how hard it can be. Patients with CHF are often navigating multiple changes at once.

For example, if your loved one smokes, they may be quitting as part of managing CHF, and that can be hard. They may also be changing their diet, adding more physical activity to their routine, and taking new medications.

You can help your loved one in numerous ways. For example, remind them that undertaking change can take time. You may also want to assist them with keeping track of things like doctor’s appointments and medication schedules. 

Practical tips

While you provide care and support, remember to take care of yourself. Schedule time for your interests, and don’t neglect your own health needs. 

Here are a few ways you can support a loved one diagnosed with CHF:

Having a loved one with CHF can be scary, but you can help greatly by providing emotional and practical support. 

Schedule an appointment by phone or online today to get personalized advice on managing or helping a loved one manage congestive heart failure. Heart & Vascular Institute is conveniently located in Dearborn, Detroit, Southfield, and Wayne, Michigan.

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