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    Congestive Heart Failure Program

    The Congestive Heart Failure Program empowers clients who have been diagnosed with heart failure to manage their health and improve the quality of their lives through early symptom recognition, activity guidelines, diet planning and medication management.

    About Heart Failure

    Heart failure is a chronic disease that affects nearly five million Americans and is diagnosed when the heart's pumping power is weaker than normal. While it still beats, a weakened heart pumps too little blood to meet the body's needs. Heart failure can occur following damage to the heart resulting from a heart attack, long-term high blood pressure, a virus or alcohol abuse. The effective treatment of heart failure demands patient participation. Persons with heart failure are advised to weight themselves daily to monitor fluid overload, limit fluid retention by reducing sodium intake, balance rest and activity, and take medications as prescribed.

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    Who May Participate

    The Congestive Heart Failure Program is open to persons of any age who have been diagnosed with heart failure. A physician's referral is preferred to join the program.

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    Special Features

    • Physician-directed care: The program staff regularly communicates each participant's progress to his or her physician.
    • Individual education: Topics include understanding congestive heart failure, signs and symptoms, diet restrictions, medication review, self-management skills and compliance issues.
    • Individual counseling: Clients benefit from one-on-one counseling with a member of the program staff who provides instruction and encouragement.
    • Nutritional consultation: A registered dietitian meets with clients to address the role that diet and meal planning play in managing heart failure.
    • Support group: Clients are invited to participate in a support group where they can share their experiences with others who have the same diagnosis.
    • Case management via telephone: The staff telephones clients to review their progress and reinforce compliance with treatment.

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    Know the Symptoms

    Symptoms of heart failure can mimic those of a respiratory infection and may include:

    • Cough.
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Waking breathless at night.
    • Not being able to lie flat at night.
    • Edema (swelling) of the ankles and abdomen.
    • Fatigue

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    Limit Your Risk

    The risk of developing heart failure can be reduced by making lifestyle changes.

    • Eat a diet that is low in cholesterol and sodium.
    • Maintain your blood pressure within normal limits.
    • Become physically active.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Don't smoke.
    • If you have diabetes, take steps to control it.

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