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Personal Care for Congestive Heart Failure


Congestive heart failure is a condition in which your heart gradually loses its ability to pump blood throughout the body. Heart failure can cause symptoms of breathlessness and fatigue. 

Dignity Health is committed to treating all of our patients with respect and humankindness. You can trust us to treat the whole person, not just the condition. Use our online tool to Find a Doctor who’s right for you to treat your congestive heart failure in the Bay Area.

Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

Congestive heart failure symptoms can vary. However, people with congestive heart failure generally tend to experience:

  • Swelling of the legs or feet
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain or congestion
  • Better sleep when propped up

Causes of Congestive Heart Failure

Damage or overwork of the heart muscle can cause congestive heart failure. When the heart muscle becomes weak from heart failure it is unable to pump blood effectively. A few common causes of congestive heart failure include:

Treatment & Prevention of Congestive Heart Failure

Heart failure cannot be reversed or cured. At Dignity Health, treatment and prevention of congestive heart failure focuses on slowing the progression of existing disease and reducing your risk factors of new disease. Your cardiologist may recommend various treatment strategies, including:

  • Lifestyle modifications, including restricted fluid intake and a low-sodium diet
  • Specialized physical therapy for heart failure
  • Medications to reduce the work of your heart or eliminate excess fluid from your body
  • Home oxygen therapy to ease breathing difficulties
  • Surgery to repair heart abnormalities or damage or to implant a ventricular assist device
  • Heart transplant

Living a heart-healthy lifestyle can help you lower your risk of developing congestive heart failure. Lifestyle guidelines for a healthy heart include:

  • Don’t take illicit drugs.
  • Quit smoking. 
  • Eat unprocessed foods. 
  • Get regular exercise. 
  • Limit your sodium intake.
  • Treat any underlying heart conditions, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. 

Dignity Health offers complete care for congestive heart failure in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.