Hearing that your aging parent has congestive heart failure can be a terrifying moment. This condition sounds as though the heart has simply stopped beating or that it is in imminent danger of stopping beating. This, fortunately, is not the case. Congestive heart failure, also referred to as heart failure or CHF, is a condition in which the heart weakens to the point that it can no longer perform its function efficiently. There are two different types of this condition. The diastolic form of CHF is characterized by a thickened, stiff heart chamber that cannot fill properly. The systolic form is characterized by chambers that are stretched and thinned so that it cannot pump efficiently.
Though CHF does not mean that the heart no longer works at all or that your parent is going to die immediately, it is a serious medical condition. For the 5 million people throughout the United States who suffer from this condition each year, it means drastic changes must be made to their lifestyle in order to manage the condition and prevent further complications that could be fatal.
When your parent receives a diagnosis of congestive heart failure their doctor will give them a list of guidelines for their ongoing care with the condition. While there are many different things that your aging parent will need to do on a daily basis in order to protect their heart and stay healthy, one that is both simply and extremely important is taking their weight daily. Stepping on the scale may not be a favorite thing for all people, but if your senior is suffering from heart failure, it is one of the most important things that they will do during the day.
One of the primary characteristics of congestive heart failure is the inability for the heart to process blood through the body efficiently. Not only does this mean that the various systems do not get the nutrients and oxygen that they need to thrive, but they waste products also do not get removed effectively. This can cause a buildup of fluid in the body that places further strain on the heart, worsening the damage and potentially causing a very dangerous situation. Taking their weight daily is a way for your aging parent to monitor how much fluid is in their body and if the situation has become serious.
A senior care provider can be exceptionally helpful in this situation. You and your aging parent should know their usual weight and the fluctuation that the doctor deems serious. The senior health care services provider can then guide your parent through the process of weighing themselves at the same time each day in approximately the same amount of clothing. This will provide the most accurate reading in regards to change. They can then record this amount and keep track. If there is a fluctuation that could indicate that fluid is building up, they can let you know so that you can get them the medical attention that they need.
For more information about how the caregivers at La Jolla Nurses Homecare can help your aging parents remain in their own homes, call 858-454-9339. We are a home care agency providing quality and affordable senior care in La Costa, CA, and the surrounding communities.