Running Head: The Challenges of C H F
The Challenges of Chronic Heart Failure
Oakland Community College
When a physician consults with a patient for any reason it can be a very intimidating situation. Imagine listening to the physician tell a patient that their symptoms indicate that the illness or disease that they are experiencing will soon begin to affect their ability to enjoy normal life activities of daily living. This also can be defined as quality of life (QOL). Heart failure is such a disease where an individual’s quality of life is impeded. A chronic illness is described as disabling condition, physical or mental that has existed for at least 3 months,” (Ignatavivius & Workman, p.118). Heart failure is defined as a chronic illness because it is a condition that is characterized by the hearts inability to pump sufficient blood for the body’s metabolic requirements. The effects if the illness on the body systems can cause long term damage not only to the ability of the heart to efficiently pump blood, but also to organs which are needed for excretion and metabolism. When the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the body organs and tissues, edema (swelling or fluid build up) develops. Where the edema occurs in the body depends on the part of the heart that is failing. For example, when the left ventricle is damaged, blood fails to get out to other body parts as quickly as it returns from the lungs. When the blood cannot get back to the heart, it backs up inside blood vessels in the lungs. Some of the fluids are forced into the alveoli causing pulmonary edema which results in difficult breathing. This is called left-sided heart failure. When the right side of the heart fails (right-sided heart failure), the right ventricle cannot pump blood to the lungs as quickly as blood returns from areas throughout the body, via the venous system. The blood then engorges the right side of the heart and veins, commonly seen in the neck as...