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Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart's function as a pump is inadequate to deliver oxygen rich blood to the body.

Congestive heart failure
can be caused by:
1. Diseases that weaken the heart muscle,
2. Diseases that cause stiffening of the heart muscles, or
3. Diseases that increase oxygen demand by the body tissue beyond the capability of the heart to deliver adequate oxygen-rich blood.

Many diseases can impair the pumping action of the ventricles. For example, the muscles of the ventricles can be weakened by heart attacks or infections (myocarditis).

Diseases such as hemochromatosis (iron overload) or amyloidosis can cause stiffening of the heart muscle and impair the ventricles' capacity to relax and fill. Additionally, in some patients, although the pumping action and filling capacity of the heart may be normal, abnormally high oxygen demand by the body's tissues (for example, with hyperthyroidism or anemia) may make it difficult for the heart to supply an adequate blood flow (called high output heart failure).

Congestive heart failure can affect many organs of the body including the functioning of kidney because of which there is retention of water in several body parts leading to pulmonary edema or swelling of the legs and ankles. Even the intestinal absorption of nutrients is affected.

Symptoms include Fatigue, Shortness of breath, Sleep disorders, Increased urination especially at night, nausea, Abdominal pain and Decreased Appetite.

Dietary Modifications in CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE
Enjoying what you eat is important. Even if you crave salt you can learn to like foods that are lower in salt. Your taste buds will change soon, and you will not miss the salt. Removing salt can bring out flavors that may have been hidden by the salt.

Restricting salt and fluid intake is often recommended because of the tendency of fluid to accumulate in the lungs and surrounding tissues.

Reduce the salt content in your diet by trying the following suggestions:
*Choose plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They contain only small amounts of salt.

*Choose foods that are low in salt, such as fresh meats, poultry, fish, dry and fresh legumes, eggs, milk and yogurt. Plain rice, pasta and oatmeal are good low-sodium choices. However, the sodium content can increase if salt or other high-sodium ingredients are added during their preparation.

*Season with herbs, spices, herbed vinegar and fruit juices. Avoid herb or spice mixtures that contain salt or sodium. Use lemon juice or fresh ground pepper to accent natural flavors.

*Read food labels before you buy packaged foods.


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