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Senior Health: Congestive Heart Failure

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

As a leading provider of live-in and specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s care in Warren, Home Care Assistance strives to keep family caregivers updated and educated on all things related to senior health. Today, we want to use this blog to discuss congestive heart failure, a quiet but progressive issue many seniors face.

What It Is

Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart muscle is not pumping as much blood as it should. The body tries to compensate by holding on to salt and water as an attempt to increase the amount of blood in the bloodstream. The subsequent congestion can lead to shortness of breath and a feeling of weakness. It can also result in an enlarged heart and rapid heartbeat.

Heart attack, coronary artery disease, and high blood pressure are among the most common causes of congestive heart failure. Other reasons include long-term alcohol abuse, diabetes, birth defects and irregular heart rhythms.

Risk Factors

Congestive heart failure is mostly caused by other health conditions. Consequently, risk factors for those problems increase the risk of heart failure as well. For example, being overweight or inactive can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn can cause heart failure. Smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes and a family history of heart disease are common reasons for coronary artery disease or heart attack.


Early symptoms of congestive heart failure are shortness of breath during physical activity, palpitations, dizziness, or weakness. Once heart failure progresses, fluid begins to build up in the lungs and other parts of the body. This can lead to swelling in the ankles or feet, weight gain, and shortness of breath while resting. Other symptoms include coughing, wheezing and feeling bloated.


Controlling existing health problems can go a long way in preventing congestive heart failure. In addition, lifestyle choices that include exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, good eating habits and not smoking are among the most effective preventative measures a senior can take.


ACE inhibitors and diuretics are often prescribed to help with symptoms and prevent further damage during the early stages. Treatment for more advanced cases of heart failure may involve the use of a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator.

Whether you’re concerned for your senior loved one’s heart health or simply want to encourage a healthier lifestyle, Home Care Assistance in Warren can help. Our hourly and live-in caregivers are expertly trained, compassionate, and able to assist with tasks including grocery shopping, healthy meal preparation, mobility support, emotional support, and provide consistent, ongoing companionship. Reach out to a friendly Care Manager today by calling (908) 450-9400. We look forward to hearing from you.