My dad currently suffers from congestive heart failure we believe if we cut back on his salt intake that it help the swelling in his legs to go down and make walking easier are we taking the right course of action to prevent possible death.
......"we believe if we cut back on his salt intake that it help the swelling in his legs to go down and make walking easier. "
In general, that is typically essential, and often, prescription drugs, namely diuretics (so-called "water pills") can help to reduce and sometimes eliminate edema (swelling/fluid build-up) in the feet, ankles, legs.
Patient information: Heart failure (Beyond the Basics)
Diet and lifestyle
Changes in diet and lifestyle are often recommended to treat heart failure. The most common recommendations include:
Decrease salt and water - Managing the amount of salt (sodium) in the foods you eat can help to keep heart failure under control. This usually means eating less than 2000 mg (2 grams) of sodium per day. Your doctor might give you more specific advice on sodium based on your condition. Low-sodium diets are discussed separately. (See "Patient information: Low-sodium diet (Beyond the Basics)".)
The amount of fluid you drink is also important. People with severe heart failure should drink less than 2 liters (66 ounces) of fluid per day. This includes all fluids. Your doctor might give you more specific guidance on fluid limits based on your conditions.
**To get a decent estimate of LVEF, a MUGA scan is reported as being the most accurate of the non-invasive methods.
Pertinent excerpt from an article on About.com by Richard N. Fogoros, M.D.
When is the MUGA scan more useful than other heart tests? The advantages of the MUGA scan over other techniques (such as the echocardiogram) for measuring the LVEF are twofold. First, the MUGA ejection fraction is highly accurate, probably more accurate than that obtained by any other technique. Second, The MUGA ejection fraction is highly reproducible. That is, if the LVEF measurement is repeated several times, nearly the same answer is always obtained. (With other tests, variations in the measured LVEF are much greater.
Additionally here, and as applicable to the patient, in some cases, along with a doctor recommended/authorized exercise regimen (unless contraindicated), LVEF can be increased, sometimes substantially, by customizing/tweaking prescription drug-therapy (e.g., Coreg, which showed, back in its clinical trial days, that it could boost LVEF in some individuals) and supplemental (complimentary or integrative medicine) therapy, as deemed applicable.
Just one example of complimentary medicine is the use of the supplement Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 or ubiquinone, a vitamin-like substance) for heart failure (though currently not scientifically proven, some doctors may advise the patient to give it a try) which may/can (i.e., along with doctor directed prescription drug-therapy, and with the doctor knowing about any supplements being taken) help to improve LVEF in some, with other supplements sometimes added to the mix.
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