Posted by: zzibi | 2007/04/01

Heart Falure

My dad of 70 was diagnosed with cardiac failure by his GP and is now waiting to see the cardiologist. Symptoms are shortness of breath at times as well as moderatlely swollen ankles. X-rays showed moderately enlarged heart. Dad is now panic- stricken and sure that he will die before he sees the cardiologist in 5 days time.

During the last 2 years( (following his retirement in 2005) I have spoken to him quite a lot of times about a healty diet as well as continuing of a light exercise program designed for him by a previous cardiologist.

Both my mother and he loves consuming large amounts of red meat, Eisbein dripping with fat, stews with fatty sauces etc. etc.

Last year, when he had his first ankle swelling episode, I urged him to cut out sugar (six slabs of chocolate) per day. Within 2 days the swelling cleared and he felt much better.

He was a very active ghofer as well as big game hunter until 2002.

Since 2003 he became more and more TV bound, up to the stage now that he only gets up from his chair to go to the loo and to bed at night. He refuses visitors during his sport programs, and also refuses invitations to birthdays etc. from the family if it coincides with any of his favourite programs. To me this is frightening, as he is still able to enjoy half a days of pigeon hunting with his friends when invited. It is af if he is really pulling a stubborn joke on all of the family.

What do we do?

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Our expert says:
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Dear Zzibi
He may be just too tired to get up and do things! I agree with you, his diet needs urgent attention. He may also be suffering from a light depression - it is not uncommon in older people. You can assist him by giving him a low salt diet for the next few days and ask his GP to prescribe a diuretic in the mean time to lessen the load on the heart. He will have to cut down on his fat and sugar intake - it is just very difficult to make a drastic change at their age - maybe making smaller changes slowly will be less traumatic.

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