Congestive Heart Failure

What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive Heart Failue (CHF), or Congestive Cardiac Failure (CCF) is a condition where the heart muscle has weakened and cannot pump as well as it should. When the heart cannot contract or relax as well as it should due to changes in size and thickness of chamber, fluid retention in the lungs, legs and abdomen usually results.

What causes Heart Failure?

CHF can be caused by a number of different factors, including:

~ Coronary Heart Disease

~ Hypertension (high blood pressure)

~ History of past heart attacks

~ Obesity

~ Unhealthy dietary habits

~ Smoking

~ Physical inactivity

~ Diabetes

What are the symptoms of Heart Failure?

There are many symptoms, however these can overlap with other medical conditions and do not solely relate to anaemia. Some of the common symptoms include:

~ Weight gain

~ Muscular fatigue and weakness

~ Tiredness

~ Shortness of breath

~ Swelling in ankles or legs

~ Swelling of abdomen

~ Heart palpitations

~ Dizziness

~ Chest pain or discomfort

~ Loss of appetite

~ Coughing or wheezing

~ Constipation

When should you get a referral to a dietitian?

~ If you have poor appetite

~ If you have fluid retention

~ If you have a BMI < 20 or > 25

What are the benefits of involving a dietitian?

~ Diet prescription considering sodium and fluid restriction

~ Improved heart function

~ Improved body weight