Congestive heart failure can be so subtle at first that your elderly family member simply doesn’t feel well for a long time. CHF is a chronic, progressive condition that doesn’t have a cure. It can be managed, though, so if your senior is experiencing these symptoms, she should talk to her doctor.
Edema, Especially in Extremities
Edema is swelling, mainly from fluid retention. As congestive heart failure gets worse, your senior’s circulatory system has more difficulty moving fluids out of the extremities. Your senior might also find that she’s gaining weight from fluid retention.
Muscle Weakness and Fatigue
Blood flow helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to every area of the body. When blood flow is hindered, as it is with congestive heart failure, your senior’s body and muscles aren’t getting the nutrients that they needs. This can leave your senior’s muscles feeling weaker and can cause her to feel generally fatigued.
Shortness of Breath
The cardiovascular system is made up of your senior’s circulatory system and her respiratory system. So, if she’s feeling short of breath, your senior might chalk that up at first to merely a breathing problem. But it can very much be a sign of congestive heart failure. Your senior may also be short of breath when she’s at rest.
Changes to Heartbeat
Your elderly family member might start to notice that her heartbeat feels like it’s racing, even when she’s resting. Or she might feel as if her heart is skipping beats now and then. Any irregularities in your senior’s heartbeat need to be mentioned to her doctor so that more tests can be run.
Appetite Changes and Nausea
Your senior might mention that she feels full, even if she hasn’t eaten much. Part of that can involve swelling of and around the heart, which can take up some of the space her stomach uses. Another big factor, though, is that your senior’s digestive system isn’t getting enough blood, either, and it’s not working as well.
Your senior might experience twinges or aches in her chest area. Her heart is working harder to try to move blood through her body and that means it’s exerting a lot of effort. Any time there are unusual or new pains in your senior’s chest, you need to mention them to her doctor.
Trouble Concentrating and Memory Issues
It might sound odd, but congestive heart failure can cause issues for your senior when it comes to using her brain. Her brain needs blood and the oxygen and nutrients that it brings, just like the rest of her body does. When her brain isn’t getting what it needs, it’s difficult for it to function well.
All of these symptoms may mean that your senior is struggling more with daily tasks. Elderly care providers can help her with those and make sure she’s safe and comfortable as well.