Viewer Comments: Congestive Heart Failure - Risk Factors

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Congestive Heart Failure:

Congestive Heart Failure - Risk Factors

What risk factors do you have for CHF, and what steps are you taking to minimize them?

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Comment from: chf, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 10

I recently got out of the hospital diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I am devastated. I am on oxygen full time and life as I knew it is over. My belly kept swelling bigger and bigger. I had a chronic cough. Most importantly, I couldn't breathe. My son took me to the hospital where I remained a week and a half. Nobody told me I had congestive heart failure, nobody told me what it meant and how it would impact my life. This whole experience has left me both angry and depressed. I want my life back.

Comment from: Anne, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: January 06

My symptoms of congestive heart failure were shortness of breath, slowness in walking, and having to lie down several times a day.

Comment from: Michigan man, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: April 06

I was on my third night of being up right in the chair, afraid to fall asleep because I could not catch my breath lying flat. I did go to the emergency room (ER) and they checked me right in and took chest x-ray and EKG right away and found congestive heart failure. Later, up in my room they got everything under control and I could breathe again. After 4 days they had me ready to go home with my first set of pills. After 90 days of pills I still could not stand up more than 20 minutes, and the heart doctor wanted to do a procedure to correct the atrial fibrillation. Wow, what a difference after the electrical cardioversion! It was all done very quickly, like in 3 hours I was on the way home 3 days later, one heart beat and much stronger overall. I still have to watch pressure and eat pills for breakfast but I can stand up and breathe again. Best would be to go to the ER, they have people there to help you, not the general doctor, and he is there to maintain you. Go with the ER doctor's plans and follow his advice and you too can live to breathe the fresh air.

Comment from: rock&hardplace, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 02

I guess I have borderline CHF. I was hospitalized with atrial fibrillation in August. Up to then I had only had transient episodes of tachycardia. Lately I've been having trouble falling asleep - I will almost be asleep when I start up with a feeling of breathlessness. If I can get through the falling asleep stage, I seem not to have sleep apnea. It takes some courage though, to take the leap to sleep! Last weekend I was on my feet all day and had major swelling in my feet and lower legs. Going up stairs leaves me breathing hard. My BNP test just came back at 249. Normal is 100; 300 is bad. My cardiologist is recommending cardioversion. At first I didn't like the idea but with the possibility of CHF it starts to seem more attractive. If I can correct of the A fib the CHF should clear up. I am 67 and otherwise in good health, active and a healthy lifestyle. I do have chronic Lyme disease, though, kept in check by maintenance antibiotics.

Published: August 27

I have been very recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure. My signs and symptoms mainly consisted of shortness of breath, but it was more like gasping for air, and there was a lot of wheezing. Turns out it wasn't wheezing at all, but fluid in my lungs. Saw my doctor and she treated me for what she believed was either asthma and/or emphysema. When I demanded a chest x ray after 3 weeks of this, I was told to go to the ER, where they did a chest x ray and discovered fluids in my lungs. The next few days in the hospital required many tests such as more chest x rays, an echocardiogram, EKGs, and a CT scan with and without contrast. After 2 days on Lasix and steroids, I apparently released 10 lbs of fluids in my lungs, 10 lbs! More than a gallon of water. I am feeling much better breathing wise, but I have a long road ahead of me. My next step is a heart catheterization.

Published: August 27

The 1st indication I had that I was experiencing CHF was severe loss of energy. A simple walk up a flight of stairs, and I was huffing and puffing, practically gasping for air. That's when a friend who happens to be a para medic, pointed out to me that my ankles were unusually swollen. I passed the lack of energy off on the fact that I was about 35 to 40 lbs. overweight and did not exercise. I was what you could call a lazy couch potato. I smoke about a pack of cigarettes a day, and although I don't drink anymore; I went through about 12 to 15 years as a very serious alcoholic. (1 QUART of Jack Daniels per day plus 12 to 24 beers). It was when my testicles got swollen to the size of a couple of grapefruits, that I went to the ER. The diagnosis was Congestive Heart Failure. I've been hospitalized 3 times since that fateful day, most recently for an infection on my lower leg that oral antibiotics would not cure. I take a lot of diuretics and am on a strict diet with my goal being to loose 40 lbs. I still smoke cigarettes, but have cut down substantially. The doctors tell me I won't die, THIS TIME!


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Congestive Heart Failure - Life Expectancy

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