Health & Wellness Resources

bookmarks

Ask the Doctor - Information on Heart Failure

article-hero-image

Heart Failure (also called congestive heart failure or CHF) is a result of heart disease that occurs when the heart is unable to provide sufficient pump action to maintain blood flow to deliver enough oxygen to meet the needs of the body.

Here are some recommendations to help you feel better, to monitor yourself more closely and to stay out of the hospital:

  • Watch your salt intake. A low salt diet is a basic component in the prevention of heart disease.
  • Weigh yourself regularly and call your doctor for weight gain greater than 3 pounds in 24 hours, or 5 pounds in 7 days.
  • Consult your physician if you develop lightheadedness, chest pains, shortness of breath, worsening fatigue, cough or dizziness.
  • Worsening and/or shortness of breath with exercise is often the earliest symptom of worsening heart problems.
  • The New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification is used to judge the severity of heart disease.

Class

Mild I
No limitation of physical activity. Ordinary physical activity does not cause undue fatigue, rapid/irregular heartbeat (palpitation) or shortness of breath (dyspnea).

Mild II
Slight limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest, but ordinary physical activity results in fatigue, rapid/irregular heartbeat or shortness of breath.

Moderate III
Marked limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest, but less than ordinary physical activity results in fatigue, rapid/irregular heartbeat or shortness of breath.

Severe IV
Unable to carry on physical activity without discomfort. Symptoms of fatigue, rapid/irregular heartbeat or shortness of breath are present at rest. If any physical activity is undertaken, discomfort increases.