Newly diagnosed and scared: Hi, my... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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Newly diagnosed and scared


Hi, my name is Hilary and two weeks ago i was advised by my GP that I have heart failure stage 1 and not to worry about it. Unfortunately I do worry about it lol No-one has sat me down and explained the stages (i looked it up), no-one has gone through my drug list (It seems a lot of mine for stroke are also the same for heart failure), I have not been told about any therapies (looked up and found oxygen which would be a good one for my asthma too). I have been left to swing in the wind just the same as i was for my mild stroke (not TIA).

Can anyone tell me if the oxygen therapy helps. I am huffing and puffing after a small amount of exercise - doing the dishes etc , my legs and ankles swell up, often taking 2-3 days of doing nothing to get back to normal. And I'm scared. I only have siblings which do not want to know

4 Replies
MichaelJHHeart Star

Hello and welcome to the forum. I would suggest you read the following:- and follow this up with a call to the BHF nurses tomorrow. The fact the swelling in your ankles takes days to settle suggests to me your medications may need tweaking. All us Hearties seem to need changes over time! After all it is a very inexact science as we are all different for instance I can take eight Tramadol a day without problems whilst my friend is away with the fairies after one!

thank you, I have been taken off tramadol as it stopped working, so now i have :coughs :CBD tablets for the lower levels of pain, and then going to the useless co-codamol and then morphine lol It just seems as though since ceasing to care for parents for 20 years (alzheimers/vas dementia) my health took a massive nose dive and has not yet come back up

MichaelJHHeart Star
in reply to hilaryblair

I can't do ibrufen or co-codamol so that's why I got tramadol on discharge. They went from morphine to paracetamol in one step and it felt as if the Dracula hunters were after me! Only on one every few days now - paracetamol as useful as liquorice all-sorts!

Heart failure is a very emotive term and feeling scared is the very normal reaction. There are 4 stages and Stage 1 would be considered low risk (hence don't worry) - I agree the don't worry statement is about the most useless expression going when you have been told you have heart failure, but you are not alone in receiving that advice.

The swelling is probably water retention due possibly to the drugs or to your heart not pumping as efficiently as it should. You need to do an see your GP and explain. You maybe prescribed a diuretic to help. The breathlessness may be asthma (as you know) or it could be related to beta-blockers (again see you GP).

I cant answer about oxygen therapy. Do you have an oxymeter? Its worth buying one (Amazon for about a tenner) to see what your blood oxygen levels look like - above 95% is OK).

Before you go and see your GP, write down every question you have and take that list with you. Sit in your GPs office until you get your answers. It is always hard to focus on everything that is going on when you are still trying to digest the news about your heart failure, so having time afterwards can work in your favour.


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