How to live with congestive heart failure

Diagram of the heart / photo courtesy:

As many people in Hollywood and across the world mourn the death of Elizabeth Taylor, there is now more discussion on what caused her death.

In simple terms, congestive heart failure is a disease that causes fluid to build up and cause congestion in the body especially around the heart and the lungs.

According to , Ms. Taylor was one of millions of people who suffer from the disease.

And according to the American Heart Association , those people diagnosed with CHF and are considered to have a mild or moderate case of CHF can be treated with medication.

Click here to read more from Mayo Clinic.

But if the heart becomes so damaged that medication can treat the patient, a heart transplant could be considered.

Thursday, we're talking to Dr. Samee who is with Blessing Physician Services in Quincy, to hear how common this is and if people can still lead a semi active lifestyle without becoming bedridden.

Dr. Syed Samee has been a cardiologist for almost 30 years and currently sees patients at Blessing Physician Services in Quincy.

And he says over the last three decades the medical community has seen a vast improvement in the way people are treated who've been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

"But right now, we have a wide variety of medications which will help a weakened heart pump better and also we have more information as to what lifestyle changes, what dietary changes can be made in a person's lifestyle," said Samee.

The doctor says because of the aging population that's why there're more cases of heart failure.

He says lifetime risk of someone being diagnosed with the disease is about one in five.

Samee says high blood pressure and heart attacks are some of the main reasons why the heart can't pump at it's capacity leading to heart failure.

According to Samee, "heart failure refers to a condition in which the heart becomes weak and has decreased capacity to pump blood. And that results in what we describe as heart failure."

The doctor as says he wants people to know that there is a difference between heart failure and heart disease.

He says people can live with heart failure and sometimes medication can correct the problem if it's mild or moderate case.

But if someone is suffering from heart disease, it's nearly impossible to reverse the damage that's already been done.

Dr. Samee said some statistics show that treating congestive heart failure patients here in the United States is the biggest expense incurred by Medicare.