Congestive heart failure is sometimes just called heart failure. The condition occurs when the heart isn’t able to pump blood efficiently. It is usually the result of other conditions that damage the heart or cause it to be weak. For example, high blood pressure can make the heart walls thick and stiff. The stiff walls don’t allow the heart to squeeze the way it should, so it cannot fill with blood or move blood through the body properly. Heart failure is a common condition. 5.7 million people in the United States have it.

Heart Failure Risk Factors

There are certain risk factors that can make it more likely your aging relative will develop heart failure. Some of them are:

  • Heart Attack: Heart attack damages the heart muscle, which can make it not pump as well.
  • Coronary Artery Disease: When arteries are narrow, the heart may not get enough oxygen-rich blood, leading to weakness.
  • High Blood Pressure: The extra work the heart has to do to push blood through blood vessels causes the walls to thicken.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes increased the risk of developing coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. In addition, some diabetes medications may increase the risk of heart failure.
  • Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea affects the heart’s oxygen supply and can cause the heart to beat abnormally.
  • Heart Valve Problems.
  • Obesity.
  • Viral Infections.

Heart Failure Symptoms

In some cases, heart failure happens suddenly, which is called acute heart failure. Other times, it develops over time and is called chronic heart failure. Symptoms range from mild to severe. Not all people will experience the same signs and symptoms, but some common ones are:

  • Feeling short of breath when lying down or when physically active.
  • Weakness and fatigue.
  • Swelling in the lower extremities.
  • Abnormal or fast heartbeat.
  • Wheezing.
  • A cough that produces white or pinkish phlegm.
  • Swelling in the abdomen.
  • More frequent urination during the night.
  • Fast weight gain because of retained water.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea.
  • Trouble concentrating.

Heart Failure Prevention

Heart failure can be prevented by making lifestyle changes that reduce the risks for conditions that can lead to heart failure. Some lifestyle changes that can reduce risks are:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Managing conditions that can lead to heart failure.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Lose excess weight.
  • Keep stress to a minimum.

Senior care can help your aging relative to manage their risk of developing heart disease. A senior care provider can remind them to take medications for existing medication conditions that could cause heart failure. A senior care provider can also prepare heart healthy meals and snacks. And, having a senior care provider to support them and help them with their day to day needs can reduce stress.


If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Houston, TX, please call the caring staff at At Your Side Home Care. We will answer all of your senior care questions. Call today: (832) 271-1600.