Elizabeth Taylor Struggled With Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) – What is CHF?
Sadly, after a long battle with congestive heart failure (CHF), Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor died today at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.
Like Ms. Taylor, according to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 2.5 million women in the United States are affected by congestive heart failure. CHF occurs when the heart can no longer pump the necessary blood, oxygen, and nutrients to other parts of the body. As a result, the kidneys start to hold on to all the water and salt or sodium in the body. When the water is not being eliminated from the body it will start to accumulate in the body and will commonly cause swelling of the hands, feet, legs, ankles, or neck veins. In addition, the fluid starts backing up in the lungs. The most common causes of congestive heart failure are heart attacks or myocardial infarctions, hypertension, heart valve disease, infections, congenital defects, and cardiomyopathy or an enlarged heart.
Some of the symptoms a patient may have when they are in congestive heart failure is shortness of breath, fatigue, coughing, wheezing, exercise intolerance, and orthopnea or difficultly breathing while lying flat.
In the early stages of congestive heart failure, many patients can be treated with heart medications, blood pressure medications, diuretics or water pills, lifestyle changes, reducing salt intake, losing weight, stress management and exercise. In some cases, like with Ms. Taylor, heart valve replacement surgery may need to be performed. As the disease progresses, the heart becomes even less efficient and it gets harder and harder to control the fluid retention. It is important that your physician or emergency room doctor recognizes, diagnoses, and treats congestive heart failure as soon as possible to minimize the potential damage. If the fluid is not removed quickly enough, the heart will be unable to pump oxygen rich blood to the brain and it could lead to an anoxic or hypoxic brain injury.
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If you or a loved one have been a victim of a heart failure or wrongful death, please contact one of our experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at 1.888.823.5291. Please feel free to look at our track record of success and call us for free no obligation consultation. We promise that we will never take a fee unless we win your case.