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Is there a time period for these stages? My 86 yr old father was diagnosed with congestive heart failure about 5 years ago . We are not sure what stage he is in or what to expect. Can anyone give me some information on this or tell me where to find some. I have checked online, but I didn't see anything about stages or a timelilne.
He also has dementia, so sometimes getting a straight answer from him about how he is feeling or if something is wrong, is tricky.
Can anyone give any info??
Thank you.

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There are 4 stages of CHF. You can read about it on the NIH sites or other sites.
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I found the heart and stroke foundation of canada helpful. I used the heart failure zone chart.

www.heartandstroke.ca/heart/conditions/heart-failure
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My grandma has been diagnosed with CHF but it is being maintained. She broke her ankle last year around the holidays and was in a rehab facility. She got a terrible cold while there and they refused to treat colds saying she was rehabing from an ankle not a cold. The cold turned into pneumonia which turned into CHF (She was also taken off her normal CHF preventive pills and singular to prevent pneumonia) which is probably why all of it happened. Anyway point is, the pneumonia was treated as was the underlining cold. I adminstered a nubilizer to her three times a day in hopes of clearing out something, she was on three pneumonia drugs as well as put back on her normal CHF pills. It cleared up and now she only has minor swelling in her one leg. It is being 'managed' or so the doctor called it that. I think CHF is more of a condition requiring intervention and if the intervention can help it be maintained. I think this is why there is no actual staging. It's not like cancer that spreads or like dementia that spreads. It is something that affects a heart valve and things can be done to encourage the heart to correct itself.
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I too would be interested in the stages of CHF! As far as I can see there is:
1. Doing OK and managing as long as I keep taking the meds
2. Preparing to pop my clogs.
End of story.
There are so many factors that effect the progression of CHF, not least of which is the mindset of the patient. Even with a strong desire to follow Drs orders, take all the meds and make life style changes the disease will eventually kill you.

Lorraine of course your mother's condition is very worrying for you but she is trying to keep herself strong. Of course she should continue with the PT but maybe using some oxygen would help her and give her permission to rest when she feels she has had enough. The object of PT is to improve strength so the patient can function for as long as possible not to push them to exhaustion at every session.
I am in the middle of 30 sessions of PT mainly because of weakness, a broken hip and side effects from necessary medications. It is hard and does make me breathless and my joints get exhausted. However 5 minutes on the bike may turn into 2 1/2 minutes, rest then finish the five.
Watch what the PT is doing and if you feel Mom will do better by doing her exercises in a different order and taking longer breaks don't be afraid to speak up. heart failure does cause breathlessness because the heart just is not strong enough to carry the freshly oxygenated blood round the body and muscles with no fuel soon get tired.

Depending on the cause of Mom's heart failue Mom could indeed improve. When you are home alone with Mom help her do the exercises. For example if she has to do leg raises give her legs some support and she will gradually get strong enough to do it on her own.
Above all don't expect miracle or a fast recovery or even any improvement. Accept wht you are dealing with and encourage but don't bully. Everything takes at least twice as long as we get older.
I recovered from a hip replacement at 68 within a few weeks now into recovering ten years later for the other hip and at six months the progress is very slow
I think of myself as an old washing machine, sometimes i refuse to start, other times i stop in mid cycle and occasionaly leak
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I'm really confused about the CHF stages too....because the dr.says mom's Heart can improve..but this is mom's 2nd serious spell with CHF ..& I'M so very worried ! When I watch her try to do PT she's so breathless and week is unbelievable the SLIGHTEST movement is exhaustive to mom, she quickly becomes Breathless,& exhausted I'm so sad & worried...no Dr. Has ever given us a stage number for CHF after I researched I learned ....I'll ask Dr. On Monday and get back to you
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I just stumbled onto this site tonight... and have been reading one after another! I want to say thank you for sooo many useful answers. Many more than I got from my dads drs!!! Am dealing with my 85 yr old dad who also has CHS & rental failure. He has his reg. Family dr who I question about many things thru the yrs he's done with nit just my dad but my mom! (Same age but she is 1 1/2 yrs into Alzheimer's). But his heart Dr who he had to change to after his of yrs retired! He really got short end of stick there!!! And now his kidney Dr who is very smart & kind. But if your given a broken pc of equipment you can't do much with glue.... it's still broken!!!
I have to say I was taken with the person that was dealing with their dad & his drinking & Dr not telling him ...NO!!! Thus struck home for me.

I don't know much about these stages but as I've watched my moms dementia worsen to where we are now... I've also watched my dad worsen over the last 1 1/2 yrs. ... esp last 12 mos. to where he is now! I believe as in Alzheimer's there is stages in CHF!!!! Thus is bad (sh*t). But it all goes back to my dads life style one I am trying to correct for myself... but I know that if they'd pos eaten a better diet & also his drinking... his quality of life would be much better at thus stage of life!

That said... my story really begins with myself & my brother. Both married wth grown children & I wth 5 grand babies! I have kept them all most every day till our last started to pre school this yr & Kindergarden & 1 st , 3rd & 7th!!! My parents were pretty well off I thought as my dad always had $2-$6,000 cash in his pockets most all the time! This was a joke!!! It was my moms money from her parents rent houses! Thus is another story but @ 2015 my brother condensed mom to file for a divorce. I knew had mentioned it a time or two that this was the only way mom could get control of her inheritance money & her rent house money but I didn't think this was wise! Mom was too old to go thru a freaking divorce! I was in the middle of finishing our ranch taxes fir the yr as well as my mother in law was dieing of a leek in her heart vaulted! She and the family knew she was dieing!!! Thus was a very hard time fir me back in April of that yr! My husbands parents were trying to get their things in order with his 2 sisters & do wills & trusts as well as tend to her sister whom was in an Alzhimer home at the time! This was a very hard yr with helping her do taxes & me completed get ours! We run over 150- 200 head of cows, hay bus & quarter horses. I had to finish my business then I felt I could get on top of what my dad was up to! We felt (Cash & Stashing). So... brother proceeded with mom taking her away from my dad April 16th the day after I finished & got our taxes & in laws finances straight!!!! I was left to pick up the pieces of my dads life as he had known it...being the boss of everything in his life even down to the foods that were bought & money spent out of his acts!!! Many!!!! Non of which were his!!! His health cont to worsen as that yr went along. But as a court date would come up... 4 or 5 times now... mom would fall out very ill & be hospitalized & get her home & 2 days later dad would get sick! We gave had to cancel court so many times it's funny now!!! But .. the week before Thanksgiving Daddy goes to my brothers house where mom was living at the time... now her Alzheimer's had gotten a hit worse but her nerves were her real problem!!! Dad was harassing her with lies @ things she had done in their part... all lies... but we couldn't catch him!!! She would tell us later.... but on that day dad ask if he could take her for dinner & talk & my brother let her go. Dad kept mom like two school kids..... none of the lawyers came to Ck on her or discuss with her if this was what she wanted!!! So with him taking her back... I stepped in &?made it clear... her health is much worse & she was not the same as 7 mos ago... she could no longer cook, clean, bathe or do dishes or laundry & she would get even worse!!!! And... I expected him to take care of her & treat her with dignity as she didn't have a clue what my brother had done!!! She had been brain washed by him to give her property away to him & signed over her power of medical & attny to my brother.
So now from Thanksgiving 2015 to June 2017 they have been together at home with both in failing health!!! Dad not giving up to go to a nursing home but I refusing for him to send her!!! He took her back so she would be taken care of! She worked after we graduated school & put up 3xs the amt needed to her retirement plan as well as what she draws from Medicare! She has money to pay for her care!!! Dad would tell me that if something happened to him that he could live off of what she drew???!!!! Nope... should have put your own money up!!! This was hers & I be d*mned if she wold leave this place stuck in a nursing home & my brother claim it!!! She has it & I am spending it on a sitter during the early part of the day! Dad has gotten worse with his fluid build up & gout in his foot so last week I hired her sister who sits to come in the evenings & help thru the night! I've had dad at ER 3 xs this week since last Friday & a Drs apt which he goes back next Tues. He is so close to being on dyalisis & really needs it rt now! So cost per hr for a sitter to me to tend to the both of them is much better than paying a fee fir nursing home fir two!!! And Mom is footing this bill out of her money!!! So he gets itvanyways!!! Lol.

I am cooking and taking foods every other day & Ms. Sandra or Ms. Ruby cook the other times. But dads end really seems to be closer than even a month ago!!! Ready fir Heart & Kidney Drs to get on the same page!!!! One adds mess & the other stops it!!! Then the PA or ER Drs think they know more on emergency calls & pulls all meds esp if on weekends... till they can run tests!!!! We livec60 miles from dads Drs & weekends get bad sometimes & weather has been bad sometimes... so I've gotten him hervat home!!! Won't happen again!!! Anyways... I've rattled enough... but this chf with rental failure is so hard for the caregivers esp when your by yourself! I want my bro & him to say they are sorry with each other but dad won't!!! He won't even let mom see her sister & family!!! But I can't let my bro take her away from her home rt now with her Alzheimer's. She is safe & secure in her home! I feel quilty but in my heart I know I'm rt to keep her at home. Time will work its self out with both of them I know!

Moms sisters daughter lost her husband a yr ago & list her 38 yr old son last Thurs. we had his funeral this Weds. I finally got to go & visit with her family. I did tell them how she was & that daddy was getting worse. I had a good cry with my cousin Dennis who holds priesthood in the church.... He & my uncle Saudi prayer fir me & my brother that things would be with Gods timeing!!!! I feel so much better. But my journey isn't over yet! I know it's only going to get worse in the next few months if not weeks if that with my dad. I will just have to deal with my mom when I have to!!!
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CHF would not of itself cause your friend to lose his ability to walk. A stroke, though, could affect both motor skills and balance: do you know what put your friend in hospital?
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My friend, 84, has CHF and has lost the ability to walk. Will he get it back? He is in the hospital now, on rehab, which he says he hates.
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CM, I haven't noticed any odor with the capsules. Although others have suggested using the seeds in various ways in foods, I'm too lazy at this time of year to consider that. By the time winter rolls around, I'm thinking more of baking things that are pure indulgence.

I wasn't aware that they had an unpleasant odor. Maybe if enough chocolate was added it would compensate?
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I can't handle flax oil either Churchmouse. I grind flax seeds in my coffee grinder (I don't like coffee, so I use it for everything else). It's nutty and tastes good to me! Any kind of oil (including flax oil and olive oil) is a very processed food, adding a lot of calories and lacking nutrition. So both Esselstyn and McDougall caution people to stay away from them. Olives are ok (in moderation) as a whole food. But no oils at all - if you have heart disease.

Go to Dr McDougall's website and check out his plethora of free information. And check out Rip Esselstyn, Dr Esselstyn's hot son. He was a firefighter in Austin, TX who got his whole firehouse to go vegan. He's a triathlete and very easy on the eyes. :)
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Bear with me while I indulge in narrow-minded prejudice for a second, but if I felt in need of flax seed oil I could always gnaw on some window putty. Doesn't the smell alone put you off?! I can't bear the stuff :P
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CM, most of my gardening friends add flax seeds (or I suppose they could use the flax seed meal) to their baked goods. I'm lazy; I take flax seed oil. It's too hot to bake.
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"...3 tablespoons of flax seed meal..."

That's seen me off Dr. Esselstyn's website all right.

I prefer Michael Pollan's pithier: "eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
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Blannie, that's good information; I'm copying it to check it out for myself. It's unusual that doctors recommend a whole foods, plant based diet - in my experience, most of them first think "prescription meds."

These two sound like my kind of doctors!

I'm curious also about the "no oil" recommendation. I assume that includes olive oil? So many organic gardeners use this in their own cooking, and they're generally very focused on their health as well - no pesticides, no GMO foods, and as few commercially grown and processed foods as possible.
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Research Dr John McDougall and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn - both physicians who have done a lot about heart disease. Dr Esselstyn (he's at the Cleveland Clinic, a world-renowned hospital) has a book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease that is stellar. Both physicians are proponents of a whole foods, plant-based diet, i.e. no animal products at all. Also lots of greens, which help the endothelial cells that line our arteries. And no oil in anything. The low-fat approach clears out veins and arteries, making your heart more efficient. So go to the library and do some reading, You can really help yourself!
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Heart, your doctor probably could either provide a list of heart healthy foods or refer you to a nutritionist who could counsel you individually. However, heart healthy foods have been a "category" of foods for some time. You can Google that - "heart healthy foods" for general overall guidelines.

With CHF, there's retention of fluid, so you would want to avoid foods that contribute to that - specifically salty foods. Junk foods like potato chips fall into this category, but many frozen dinners are also high in sodium, as are condiments and sauces.

Research the ranges of tolerable sodium levels, check labels on all the foods you buy to determine the sodium levels, and plan accordingly.

You can find heart healthy menus and recipes online as well. I just did a quick Google search and got hits on both heart healthy diets, recipes, and more.

I also got several hits for "CHF Diet."

I'm wondering though if you have chronic CHF b/c of underlying conditions; if so, those would be a factor in the effectiveness of your diet, so this is something I would really raise with your cardiologist. E.g., some of the foods which can contribute to hypertension can affect CHF as well.

One thing you can do is substitute herbs for flavoring in lieu of salt and all those high sodium sauces.

Make it a challenge and it'll be easier if you have to give up high fat and high salty foods you enjoy.
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What does your doctor say? Are you not happy with the advice you are being given?
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I'm 66 and I have chf for the last 15 years. what foods or meds would help me dealing with chf
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Jenpen, that sounds very difficult and I hate to hear how unhappy you are! Can anything change in your environment, if the medications are tuned up as well as possible?
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Jensen time to take matters into your own hands and change the drs you are seeing. Heart nurses can be very good but you need a cardiologist and an advocate to go with you to appointments.
You may not want to be saddled with oxygen but it will improve your breathing and allow more activity. Yes you can drive with oxygen there a small portable tanks or a battery operated concentrated. Ask to have your oxygen level checked. If the level is below 88 without oxygen medicare will pay for it.
Warfarin is only one of the anti coagulants available and the downside is that there are diet restrictions and you need regular blood testing. once a month once you are stabilized. The effects are fully reversible. There are several newer more expensive anticoagulants on the market with no restrictions but they are more expensive and they are more difficult to reverse.
There is procedure called an ablation that may be able to control Afib. It is done by threading a catheter through a blood vessel in the groin and advanced to the heart and offending nerve connection are destroyed. it is usually done with sedation but you can insist on general anesthetic as it can take several hours to complete.If you don't already have supplementary insurance with your Medicare it is advisable because the costs can be astronomical unless you can qualify for medicaid. There is a lot of help out there but it takes the effect to find it.
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No diuretic, Jenpen? Is there some reason your doctor wouldn't want you to take one? They are prescribed to help with breathlessness by removing excess fluid from body tissue, but they do (like all drugs) have undesirable side effects, and perhaps in your case it wouldn't be a good idea for you to take them.

Also, I don't see an anti-clotting medication in that list, is that right? But again, there could be good reasons if you're not taking one.

All the same. If you are experiencing symptoms that interfere with your life, speak up to your nurse, don't suffer in silence. Some things can't be avoided, but that's no reason to assume that nothing can be done to help you. Hugs to you.
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A great many people on these pages are a good age and still coping with H.F.I am 73 and was diagnosed a year ago after suffering a TIA two years previously,the cause I was told was Atrial Fibrilation,which I had been trying to get diagnosed for many many years before at a quite young age.not much confidence in the doctors I have seen,I now have a Heart nurse I see and am taking Digoxin Candesartin Bisoprolol,I also get Asthma,I get very breathless several times a day, and cannot do too much excertion of any kind.I find it difficult to live with and can get very depressed,also am most unhappy in the place I live,and get no help or advice from anyone.😪
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Sorry it posted before I was able to finish what I was saying!

He was told by his cardiologist that he is too old for a valve replacement as he wouldn't survive it. I know that 90 is a good age but I'm just not ready to lose him,mi d you I never will be.i have a vacation oozed for June and I don't know whether I should cancel it,my brother has told us to go as if. It's going to happen it will and I could not stop it so I am to go away.

It's hard not knowing how to plan our lives,I'd out everything on hold for him.
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My Dad had a quadruple by pass 22 years ago,as he says it has served him well. He is now aged 90,and 3 years ago he was told a valve wasn't working anymore.I didn't know this until 6 months ago.His legs are leaking terribly,and he now has a red raw rash on one of them.He sometimes gets out of breath. He was told my
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I really believe that once a person gets to 85, anything after that is a bonus, especially if there are already health conditions present. My own mother died at 92 and made me promise I would not use heroics to keep her alive. She emphatically did not want to be hooked up to a machine and did not want to be warehoused in a nursing home, no longer resembling who she used to be. As hard as it is to lose a parent that is beloved, I believe, as my mother taught me, that we are all only loaned here and we all have an expiration date. Sometimes medical ability extends life when it really should not and does not serve the person well. There is much to be said for having a good quality of live and not merely to extend elderly years into infinity. My mother did not want this and I know I sure as hell would never want to live like that either.
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Thank you for your answer to my question, They did not have any discussions with regards to different options it was all rushed. We had not had a chance to ask the questions that you have suggested. One thing I have found out though is they did not get a consent form signed allowing them the authority to turn the ICD unit off, also we were not informed that we had the option to reactivate the ICD if my wife's condition did not worsen. I am quite adamant that there are things that were done and should not have been. My wife was on her second unit after the first was due to be changed because of the time it had been in. Which was 7 yrs, the latest one had been in 3yrs, and all the time that she had, had these units in neither had ever had to shock. The consultant had arranged a palliative care package that had been put in place. They had also arranged for certain items to be put in place at home before her discharge. Why go to all this trouble if my wife's condition was at the stage the call end of life. She was so upbeat and looking forward to coming home and was planning what she wanted to do, before she was tragically taken. What else is so upsetting for me is that this year was to be our Silver wedding anniversary. I'm am very angry at the hospital treatment and the consultant's actions. There are a load of questions that need answers to before I can move on, and I am determined to fight on her behalf to get the answers that I need. I thank you for the support you have given.
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Nodrog, you need much more technical information than any of us can offer without knowing more about your wife's conditions and medical history.

If you or your wife were "coerced", that's when you should have been asking what stage her cardiac condition was, what the prospects for survival were, what other options there were.

If you really want to pursue this, you'll need to get your wife's medical records from her cardiologist, the cardio or electrophysiologist who performed the implantation and d/c of it, probably some pacer readouts and of course the hospital records of the surgery.

You should also investigate whether or not the defibrillator had a defective lead. Some leads were defective and could activate w/o cause, resulting in the person in whom the device was implanted to suffer shocks and bodily trauma. In my father's situation, the Medtronic defib lead was defective, and I did agree to have it turned off. But (much to my surprise) his cardiac condition had improved and the defib lead wasn't as necessary as it was when it was inserted when the pacer was changed out.

Unfortunately, the option to remove it was much more complicated, so it was left in but wasn't active. It couldn't accidentally shock him, which could happen with the defective lead left active.

There are a lot of issues with these kinds of pacers with defibs.

If you feel there's grounds for malpractice, you'll need to find a med/mal attorney who will consider the case, order the records for you (expect the cost to be several hundred dollars just to get the records), have them reviewed by a cardiologist or electrophysiologist or other similar expert who will advise whether or not grounds exist for a suit.

Years ago tort reform pushed attorneys in Michigan into the position of having to find a physician who would testify that malpractice had existed. It was a good move, b/c prior to that some aggressive attorneys would "make" a case into a med/mal case, even if it was one.

I am sorry for your loss, especially since your wife was so young. I think it might bring some peace to you to explore whether or not there was malpractice, as the process of an attorney's and medical practitioner's review might provide some insight into what the real situation was, assuming that cardiac arrest was in fact the cause of her death.
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My wife had an ICD implant fitted which she was coherced into having it turned off, which I her husband did not want. And at no time at all had we been told what stage my wife's heart condition was, by that I mean they had not informed us if she was at end stage with her heart condition. My wife was 45yrs she died within less than 24hrs of being discharged,I do believe that if her ICD implant had remained active then she would be alive today. Can you let me know your thoughts on this course of action taken in my wife's care.
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My father is 90. 22 yrs ago he had a quadruple bypass,and was told it would last him about 10 years. 3 years ago he was told that one of the valves had stopped working, and at his age he was too old to undergo another valve replacement. About six months ago his legs started leaking really badly,he has his dressings changed everyday but as soon as he has changed his socks they are sodden again within 10 minutes.Two weeks ago,on top of his leaking ulcerated legs,he developed a painful red eczema like rash as well.He is often out of breath & has become very tired all of a sudden. My Dad is my world,I cannot imagine life without him.He is a very private man and doesn't tell us much as he knows we'd be worried. My question is, how do doctors know when patients like my Dad are coming to the end of their journey, I'm trying to prepare myself but it's very hard.
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MomLizzy, probably up a little for some walking and very light activities is good, but just don't push that heart too hard. Getting up and walking over to a table where she can fold laundry should be fine, but doing a big load with all the lifting and pulling by herself may be too much. Ask her doctor for advice on it too.
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