Chronic Disease Series: Congestive Heart Failure
Our heart is always active. It’s pumping blood while we drive to work, while we eat dinner, and when go to sleep. But certain conditions can prevent our heart muscles functioning normally, and this is when congestive heart failure occurs.
This condition is usually triggered by a culmination of other issues. High blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and diabetes are some of the most common causes. Over 5 million Americans are living with congestive heart failure, and it’s vital that they take medication to manage it. We asked one Simplefill member about her experience as a heart failure patient. Get the scoop:
What is the biggest change you’ve had to make since being diagnosed with congestive heart failure?
Not being able to work. Changing lifestyles as far as eating goes: how I approach daily life in general. When I was first diagnosed, I had to use a walker. I couldn’t go more than 20 feet without having to stop and rest. Then I changed my diet. I went to my doctor and got on a medication regimen. Then slowly over the years, watching my diet, exercise and stress levels, I started to feel better.
Are you on any current medication? If yes, how vital is it that you take your medication perfectly?
I was for years. When I was on medication for congestive heart failure, it was important to take my blood pressure first. If I was below the parameters my doctors told me, then I wouldn’t take my medication. The lower my blood pressure was, the higher chance that my heart will go into failure.
What kinds of exercises can you do or are you limited to moderate activity only?
I personally am not allowed to lift anything over 8 lbs. I’m not allowed to do any cardiovascular exercises—no spin bikes, treadmills or water therapy, but each person is different. As long as I don’t get exhausted, I’m okay. I take several naps throughout the day.
If you think you might be at risk of heart failure, get your physician’s opinion as soon as possible. Should you be diagnosed with this condition, remember: Simplefill is here for you.