Living with Congestive Heart Failure

What I Already Knew / What I Wanted to Know

It was on my wedding night when my grandmother was rushed to hospital. She was admitted immediately to the Intensive Care Unit. We all thought she was suffering from mild arthritis and hypertension. However, our family physician, Doctor Kelvin, explained that she was suffering from Congestive Heart Failure. Questions started rushing through my mind as the doctor continued explaining her condition. What will change? How does this condition affect our family? What is the survival rate for such a condition? I already knew that Congestive Heart Failure is a condition in which the heart works less efficiently. Due to various possible causes, the blood moves through the heart at a slower rate which increases the pressure on the heart, and surgery and certain medications are the only known remedy to this condition. I didn’t know much more than that, and I needed to know what might trigger a heart attack. Will she be able to engage in any tedious activity? Will she maintain the same diet? Will she be able to live with it? Will she be able to travel to see her great-grandchildren in the city? Can she effectively manage the condition? I made a list of the things I needed to know, and from that list, I developed my research question: Can she effectively manage to live with Congestive Heart Failure? Later I was able to form an answer.

Why I am Writing This Paper

I am genuinely concerned about how her life and our life will be affected by this diagnosis. Despite my grandmother being of age, she is an active person, and my wish is for her to remain the same. I am afraid that Congestive Heart Failure will slow her down and force her to be led involved in our lives. Additionally, I love when she comes to visit us in the city bearing fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm. She is the firstborn and patron in her family; therefore, the entire family responsibility rests on her shoulder. My mind is full of questions, and I need to straighten my thoughts. Thus, researching and writing this paper will help in thatThe Story of My Search.

The Story of My Search

My search took about a month. I began my research by doing some background reading of an article by Cleveland Clinic on their website. The site defined the term Congestive Heart Failure. Information on how the heart functions, the causes of Congestive Heart Failure, the complications of heart failure, the symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure, the importance of ejection fraction, and the diagnosis and treatment of the condition. Additionally, the article shows the number of people with the condition in the country. The Merck Manual of Medical Information supports most of the information in this article, including the statistics.

I also did an online search combining the terms managing Congestive Heart Failure and living with it and did an online Google search. I choose to use the American Heart Association website out of the numerous sites available. The information on this site was well organized and easy to understand, and it provided information to all three aspects of my research. A quick search on on who is search confirmed that the information on the website is accurate since the website is registered with the American Heart Association. The site also provided the date the information was updated and an address where I could contact the American Heart Association. Additionally, I utilized the information from the Merck Manual of Medical Information manual to affirm the exactitude of the information. For that reason, it was the only resource that I evaluated for authority, currency, accuracy, and purpose.

Our family physician recommended me to a cardiologist called Dr. Patel Shah. Since he was the one going to treat my grandmother’s Congestive Heart Failure condition, I decided to interview him for my paper. Although he has a busy Dr. Patel, Shah graciously agreed to create time for my interview. We met one afternoon in his office, and he provided more information on the condition. He showed some demonstrations of some of the apparatus used to monitor the pressure to improve outcomes in heart failure patients.

I also spend time in the public library getting information from books, newspapers databases, and online magazines. I used the “Browse Topics” feature. I discovered Congestive Heart Failure listed in over 500 hundred subtopics that I narrowed down to one of my searches by adding the subtopic old age and hypertension to another. Additionally, the book by Marc Silver on the Success with Heart Failure: Help and Hope for Those with Congestive Heart Failure provided more insights on the condition.

At the end of the month, I collected plenty of information. My question had not changed: Can my grandmother manage and live with Congestive Heart Failure? I was able to define what she needed to manage. For that reason, I narrowed my topic to three key aspects to manage and live with the condition: medication, lifestyle change, and careful monitoring.

The article by Cleveland Clinic shows that nearly 5 million Americans are currently living with Cognitive Heart Failure, and approximately 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year (Cleveland Clinic. 2022). Cognitive heart failure affects people of all ages, from children to the elderly. Around 659,000 people in the country die from this condition. Therefore, managing this condition is a health issue for many people, and my research shows they’re more treatment options available for heart failure than ever before (Cardiovascular Disorders – MSD Manual Professional Edition, 2022). Tight control over her lifestyle and medication coupled with careful monitoring reduces the chances of a heart attack.

Numerous conditions can trigger a heart attack, like valve and thyroid disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Therefore, the physician conducted a series to test to determine the cause of this condition. He prescribed medication that will help by desensitizing her to them, thus making them less likely to trigger a heart attack episode. She was also advised to reduce stress which the physician determined as the primary cause of this condition. Therefore, we were advised as a family to be mindful of what we share with her since any sad or traumatizing news can trigger.

Doctors may use many different kinds of medication to help people living with congestive heart failure. These medications can be taken orally or through injection. Specific vasodilators are taken to expand the blood vessels, ease blood flow and reduce blood pressure. Overall, the medications are used to improve the heart’s ability to pump blood, decrease stress on the heart, decrease the progression of heart failure and prevent fluid retention. Beckerman (2022) explains that this drug causes the blood vessels to dilate, thus lowering the blood pressure.

I developed a plan for my grandmother on how to manage and live with this condition after I completed my research. The plan advises medical treatment, lifestyle change, and careful monitoring. She has to take medications as prescribed by the physician to monitor the condition and go in for checkups every fortnight. The checkups are vital since the doctors will ensure she stays healthy and her heart failure is not getting worse. They will review her weight record and list of medications, and it will allow us to ask questions during this appointment. She will also adjust her lifestyle: she will need to limit the amount of salt she eats and avoid cooking food with industrial deed and vegetable oils since her cholesterol levels are high, requiring her to shed some weight. Overall, in doing this, she can continue living her everyday life and doing the things she loves, like traveling to see her great-grandchildren in the city.


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Writing Group Members, Lloyd-Jones, D., Adams, R. J., Brown, T. M., Carnethon, M., Dai, S., … & Wylie-Rosett, J. (2010). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2010 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation121(7), e46-e215.

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