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The term ‘heart failure’ can sound scary when you first hear it; the word failure alone could keep you up at night. You might think to yourself, “Does this mean that my heart no longer works?” Thankfully, that’s not the case. What it really means is that your heart is not functioning or pumping as well as it could be, and left untreated, it can cause severe damage to your internal organs. Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a serious condition, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence.

You may have to make some significant changes to your lifestyle going forward. It’s important to understand the facts; if you have a proper strategy in place and you understand the triggers, you can better manage your condition.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with CHF, here are a few things you should know:

exercise for congestive heart failure1. It doesn’t work in isolation

CHF works closely with other heart diseases and can be caused by a number of cardiac disorders. In fact, heart failure isn’t the actual disease, but rather a result of other conditions.
Thus, having any type of heart disease exposes you to CHF. That’s why, once you have been diagnosed with CHF, it’s important that you seek screening for other possible heart conditions.

2. Life expectancy varies

One of the most pressing questions you might have is, “What’s the life expectancy?”

Unfortunately, there’s no single answer for this. Your doctor will explain this to you. A lot will depend on which stage of your condition you are in and your overall health. The good news is that advancements are constantly being made in treating CHF. However, despite the advancements, 5 years is the life expectancy of about 50% of those diagnosed with CHF. 90% of those in advanced CHF stages will pass away within a year. At moderate stages, patients average 10 years.

One of the reasons why CHF is so dangerous is that it goes undetected for long. With early detection, you have better odds of living a happy life (with the doctor’s prescriptions and dietary changes).

3. Age matters

Research has shown a strong correlation between the incidence and prevalence of CHF and the patient’s age. With advancing age, the condition can get worse.

The diagnosis, however scary, can give hope to patients and their loved ones. By following the doctor’s advice, you can take control of the situation and your quality of life.

4. CHF is NOT a death sentence

While serious, congestive heart failure diagnosis doesn’t mean your life is over. It’s important to understand how manageable it is. By taking the right steps, patients can learn to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Will there be necessary lifestyle changes? Certainly. But it doesn’t mean you have to stop what you’re doing. Do regular physical exercises like walking, swimming, biking, and light-weight exercises. Avoid activities such as running in very hot or very cold weather or doing heavy lifting. Stick to a diet that’s low in sodium and avoid processed foods.

Consult a doctor for the best steps to combat your CHF.