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Living With Congestive Heart Failure: A Caregiver’s Perspective

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Congestive Heart Failure, also referred to as CHF or simply heart failure, is a serious medical condition which leaves the heart unable to supply enough blood to the rest of the body and in some cases, unable to properly fill with blood.

Affecting almost six million people in the United States alone, CHF is responsible for approximately 300,000 deaths annually. The number of people affected by CHF continues to rise with 400,000 new U.S. cases diagnosed each year. According to some estimates, 20 percent of CHF patients do not survive the first year after diagnosis and the five-year survivability rate is estimated to be 50 percent.

With such a hard prognosis, ongoing health care for CHF patients becomes vitally important. Quality healthcare may improve the long-term outcome, survivability, and quality of life. The role of family members, friends, and other caregivers can often make the difference in the outcome for CHF patients. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and visit with Kim Lindros about CHF. Kim is the owner of a successful editorial and content development company located in Austin, Texas. She’s also the sole caregiver for an adult sister who suffers from multiple physical and mental disabilities leaving her unable to care for herself.

Managing her sister’s health care recently became even more challenging when her sister was diagnosed with CHF. In an open interview, Kim shares her experience, insight, and practical tips regarding caring for someone with CHF.

Were you surprise by the diagnosis of CHF?
The diagnosis of CHF really came at us out of the blue. Since coming to live with me four years ago, my sister has lost 160 pounds and recently lost another 15 pounds. This was done by monitoring her diet and finding little ways that she could exercise. Her health has really improved and we all thought she was doing great so the diagnosis of CHF was really unexpected.

How did you first become aware that your sister had CHF?
I found out she had CHF from the emergency room staff. My sister wasn’t feeling well and laid down to rest.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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