Mom has congestive heart failure. What do I look for in the coming years?

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I'm going to chime in here...my mom sees a cardiologist who has done a great job with her. She has periodic ultrasounds of her heart, just to check how her arteries and her heart are doing, but the last time he saw her, the doc said he couldn't do much more for her, which is fine. I don't think her regular doctor could have fine-tuned my mom's care with the atrial fib and CHF. My mom has had to change medications a couple of times when she got a dry cough with one heart med and another time when she was just so exhausted. Her doc tried her on different meds and we've finally gotten her to a pretty stable place - knock on wood.

I also had to change cardiologists in the same practice when she was going to have a heart catheterization and one of the meds they used to knock her out caused her legs to twitch uncontrollably. Her heart doc tried to tell me it was the steroid and I didn't believe that, because my mom had been on steroids before with no complications. It was the benedryl they had given her. Her heart doc wouldn't listen to me. A nurse quietly brought me a medication side effects printout later saying that benedryl can cause dyskenesthia (uncontrolled body movements) in geriatric patients. That's all I needed to know to ask for a different doc. We love the one she has now (from the same practice). I hate arrogant docs if they don't know what they're talking about.

So if you have doubts that your mom's doc isn't the best, ask around (ask nurses at the hospital on the heart floor for recos. I did that to find my mom and dad the best primary care doc when they moved up here to live near me).
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You say you found the right doctors. What kind? Family doctor, heart doctor - what did you look for? Also meds how do you know when you have found the right ones?
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My husband is 70. He was diagnosed with CHF and diabetes at age 59. It has taken nearly 11 years to find the right doctors and the right medicines to get him to a comfortable, functional state, almost like normal. He still gets very weak when he does these things: get up quickly; reach hands above his shoulders; bend over too far and stay bent too long. When those things combine, he can 'faint': rubbery limbs, cannot move, slurred speech -- like being drunk, or like stroke (but exam said no stroke).

Also he occasionally has less serious low blood pressure/weakness for 5 or 10 minutes for no known reason.
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I feel for you Mophie. It's so hard to watch people go downhill and not be able to fix it. I've struggled with that for several years with friends who have lost their battles with cancer and then my dad and now my mom. It is very emotionally draining and there's only so much you can do if your mom isn't willing to follow doctor's orders.
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Mom never smoked but she and dad (he as passed away) did like to go out for drinks. She eats well but too is loosing her appetite. She is on LASIK and they do blood work on her continually. Really loosing her will to carry on sometimes. Yes, it gets hard
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My husband had CHF the last 25 years of his life. Sometimes he had fluid buildup, often visible as swollen ankles. At these times he was easily short of breath. But I don't think tht the CHF had a significant impact on his quality of life.
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I'm sorry to hear that Mophie. Was your mom a smoker? My mom never smoked and I make sure she eats very well. She's losing her appetite, but still is doing OK - so far. Is your mom on a diuretic?
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My mom has CHF and AFib. She tires very easily and now is wheel chair bound as well as on oxygen all the time. She does not want to accept any of this many times not wearing her oxygen and just not doing what needs to be done. This puts her in the hospital and then to rehab. Seems like a big cycle that is emotion and cash draining!
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You don't say how old your mom is or what her general condition is. My mom has CHF and takes a mild diuretic to help with fluid build-up. She also has aortic stenosis, where her aorta has stiffened up and narrowed with age. And she's got atrial fib and is on several heart meds for all of that.

What has happened with her is any kind of exertion she's short of breath. If she walks from one side of the room to the other, she's panting. But her cardiologist said it was important to continue to do as much as she could do and to walk as much as she could. She just needs to rest more frequently. At almost 94, she's able to take care of most of her activities of daily living in Independent Living. If we go out, I have a companion or transport chair that I put her in, which makes it easy for her to get around. She's not on oxygen, which I think happens with some people with CHF. So it's not necessarily all doom and gloom if you get a good cardiologist, depending on the age and condition of your mom.
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