Welcome to Lungs At Work

It is my hope that with "Lungs at Work", I can answer questions that people may have about their lungs. If you have a specific subject that you wish for me to cover, you may email me at lungsatwork@gmail.com

I wish you all good, free, and easy breathing!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure

I realize that this is a blog about breathing, but for those with Congestive Heart Failure, they know that it has to do with breathing. The heart and the lungs work hand in hand.

Congestive Heart failure or CHF is when the heart is not pumping like it should. It is not able to handle the volume of fluid that needs to circulate through the body. It is pumping, but not as effectively as is needed. What happens is the fluid begins to back up. People get swollen ankles and legs and other extremities. When the fluid continues to back up, it looks for a place to rest. Ahhhhh look at this nice squishy area, the lungs, and the fluid begins to fill the lungs. A person can actually drown in their own fluids if they do nothing to correct this situation.

A person needs to go to the Emergency room whenever they are having difficulty breathing. When the heart is not pumping like it should and the fluid is filling up the lungs, believe me, it is hard to breath. Upon arrival to the ER, they will probably put you on oxygen and start an IV. They might even call for a breathing treatment. Although bronchodilators do not help CHF, sometimes they help the patient feel better. They will give you medicine to help you potty out the excess fluid. If all of this isn't fast enough to help a person breathe better, they might call the respiratory therapist to come and put you on BiPap. This is a very tight fitting mask that uses positive pressure to help push the fluid out of the lungs.

Hopefully the combination of medicine and positive pressure will help get the fluid excess under control. Remember, if you are having difficulty breathing, do not think "I'll just wait a little longer to see if things get better", Go Go Go to the hospital.

Breathe Easy!

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