Until you have heart failure, you may not understand the stages and how each one can affect your day-to-day life.
When I found out I had congestive heart failure, my first thoughts were, will I die and when?
Congestive heart failure life expectancy depends somewhat on the stage of CHF you are in. Later stages are of course more serious.
First is Stage A, which may often be overlooked — especially by someone in their twenties and thirties. Most people consider any type of heart disease something that hits only older people.
- Stage A: This stage means conditions are right for developing congestive heart failure from things such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Stage B: In this stage there may be evidence, usually found in an electrocardiogram, of systolic heart failure. That’s when the heart can’t pump enough blood. Stage B includes people who may or may not have had a prior heart attack or valve disease.
- Stage C: In this stage symptoms like shortness of breath and inability to exercise appear, plus exhaustion. This is the stage I am in with my own personal battle with CHF.
- Stage D: This advanced stage usually means you’ll need more serious treatments, such as surgery.
All that sounds pretty scary. I know sometimes it really gets to me since I am in stage C.
You have to remember, though, that fear builds stress. And stress is not good for your heart. Some die within 10 years, but that doesn’t have to happen to you or me. I’ve been in stage C longer than that.
The most important thing to realize is that you are not in this alone. Work with your doctors as a team, and make sure you like your doctors. You all will be working together on an ongoing basis.
Sure, medically and physically speaking, without any treatment, congestive heart failure life expectancy is limited, but no two people are alike. Follow your personal treatment plan, research your options, watch your diet, lose weight if needed, take your medicine on time, and so on.
Doing so keeps your heart muscles healthier longer, and the healthier they stay the longer we live. When we monitor our illness and stay steadfast, congestive heart failure is a condition we can live with.