Signs of a Weakening Heart

Swollen feetSigns of a Weakening Heart

A few years after graduating from college I traveled from New York to North Carolina to visit my parents. One afternoon I sat beside my father watching a televised football game. While he was enjoying the game, I was distracted, struggling internally with my frustration over his lack of self-healthcare.

You see, four years earlier my dad’s lifestyle of smoking, overeating, and under-exercising had led him to suffer a massive heart attack. Subsequently he was prescribed several medications—which I was pretty certain he was no longer taking, at least not regularly.

Noting that his breathing was labored, his stomach distended, and his ankles swollen (the left one more so than the right), I finally couldn’t contain my emotions any longer. “Dad”, I said with an edge in my voice, “You have congestive heart failure! When will you begin to take care of yourself?” I believe his answer to me was, “Leave me alone, Lisa.”

And so I did. He died within the year.


So if you’ll allow me to “bother you” today with some important information, I believe this week’s Monday Morning Health Tip may just tip the scales in favor of a longer, more productive life for you or your loved one.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) affects millions of middle aged and elderly persons each year. Its symptoms can come on quite abruptly, say after suffering a heart attack, or they can develop over time as arteries and the heart’s muscular wall begin to harden and/or weaken, or from another heart weakening condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The earliest signs of CHF, shortness of breath and fatigue, are often missed or misdiagnosed for years because of the age category you are in. But no one should feel out of breath after making the bed, walking to the mailbox, or climbing a flight of stairs (unless you are severely overweight).

If you’ve noticed any one of the above signs, and especially if you’ve observed more than one, then please schedule a visit with a cardiologist—and then DO WHAT THEY ADVISE! Your very life may be hanging in the balance. And I believe that life is far too precious for me to just “leave you alone”.

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