Cardiovascular disease is also heart disease

Published 7:30 am Saturday, June 3, 2023

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Cardiovascular disease is also known as heart disease. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a few years ago, approximately 610,000 people die from heart disease in the United States annually. Heart disease is the cause of death in 1 out of every 4 deaths.

Vickie Wacaster, Patient and Hospice Advocate with Aveanna Hospice (formerly Comfort Care Hospice)

Heart disease affects the heart or blood vessels. The risk of certain types of heart diseases may be increased by smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, and obesity.

Congestive heart failure in its final stages is often unpredictable, and symptoms can vary from individual to individual. The symptoms of end-stage heart failure are caused by the body’s attempt to compensate for a weakened heart. Tissues and organs that don’t receive enough blood, oxygen, and nutrients fail to work effectively.

As Heart Disease progresses, treatments that have helped manage earlier stages of the disease may not work anymore, and healthcare providers may prioritize alleviating the discomfort of your symptoms.

Symptoms of end-stage heart failure are:

  • Swelling and fluid collection under the skin
  • Shortness of breath, even at rest
  • Pulmonary edema, where excess fluid fills the lungs’ air sacs
  • Swelling and puffiness
  • Weakness and fatigue, especially with physical activities
  • Low blood pressure
  • Malnutrition, or failure of your body to absorb nutrients
  • Sudden weight gain (usually due to fluid) or weight loss
  • Increased nighttime urination
  • Fatigue from daily activities (need increased help with tasks such as bathing and dressing as well as other daily living activities)
  • Recurrent infections or other health issues
  • Increased emergency visits and hospitalizations

Therefore, when an individual has reached the end-stage of their disease, hospice care may be recommended as the most appropriate option for managing symptoms and ensuring the quality of life.

Please speak to the hospice of your choice if you have any questions about the criteria for end-stage heart disease.

“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.” ― Rumi

— Vickie Wacaster is a patient advocate with Aveanna Hospice (formerly Comfort Care Hospice).