What's going to happen to my Dad?

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/29/2010 2:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all,

My Dad was diagnosed with heart failure around 5/6 years ago, when I was a teenager. At the time, he simply told me that it was a manageable condition and that he would be OK so long as he followed his course of medicine and listened to doctors orders in terms of looking after himself. I just took this as being the case.

A couple of nights ago, however, for some reason I decided to investigate heart failure a little more and I have been devastated by my findings. I didn't realise that it's a condition that's probably going to kill him sooner rather than later.

I spoke to my Dad about it last night and apparently, he doesn't know what stage/class (i.e. 1-4, A-D) he is at. I'm not sure whether I believe this - I think he's just trying to protect me from the reality of the situation. I asked him about his life expectancy etc and apparently, he doesn't know this either - he just reckons that he's going to look after himself so he can live as long as he can.

Can anyone give me any more info?

He's 53 years old and his heart failure is as a result of a faulty heart valve, something that was present at birth. He is slightly overweight but on the whole, he eats well. He works full time and it is quite an active job, so he gets exercise through this. He manages to go about normal activities well enough, such as going for a walk or doing the weekly shop. And He is controlling the condition through medication and always takes his meds as directed, he doesn't miss doses- the doc said he doesn't need an operation at the moment. In his last check up, he did a treadmill fitness test thing and he was only a few marks below the average for someone his age WITHOUT a bad heart.

Can anyone tell me what the outlook is? I mean, if he was to continue to live sensibly as he is now, could he have a good few years left in him? As mentioned, he was diagnosed 5/6 years ago.

I've also heard that heart failure is an umbrella term - is it possible to have a heart failure that isn't part of the classic 1-4 spectrum?

What I'm essentially asking is, is it possible to live to a decent old age if you manage the condition and yourself really well?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 10/29/2010 2:42 PM (GMT -6)   

I'm usually on the other forums, but wanted to reply and let you know that I understand your worries. I hope other members will be along soon with more information about heart failure.

I do understand where you're coming from with your concern. I too have searched for online information about heart failure and been terrified at the results. However, your dad seems to be doing everything right that he can do, and his doctor sounds like she/he is keeping close tabs on how your dad is feeling. It seems to me like that's a key factor. And of course, the way you describe his symptoms, you're probably thinking that your dad is NOT at Stage 3 or 4. That's a little more comforting too.

It's tough not knowing what to expect, though, especially when you've read all that scary information. And your dad may be telling you the truth: that he doesn't know his stage nor his prognosis. Maybe he is too frightened to want to know himself; some people would be. Or maybe he thinks that knowing would make him frightened or change how he lives his life in a negative way. I'm sure you told him how concerned you were, and that you just want to know because you do care about him. That's the best you can do in finding out more of his diagnosis, unless he chooses to ask his doc for more info and then share it with you.

Hang in there. I'm sure others will post soon about their experiences with heart failure.


Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/30/2010 7:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  My heart goes out to you as I know how awful it feels to fear something happening to your Father.  Big breath.
You can't reverse many conditions that lead to heart failure, but heart failure can often be treated with good results. Medications can improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure. Lifestyle changes, such as exercising, reducing the salt in your diet, managing stress, treating depression, and especially losing excess weight, can improve your quality of life.
Heart failure is a chronic disease needing lifelong management. However, with treatment, signs and symptoms of heart failure can improve and the heart sometimes becomes stronger. Doctors sometimes can correct heart failure by treating the underlying cause. For example, repairing a heart valve.
Make sure you Dad sees his cardiologist regularly and perhaps you can help him with some lifestyle changes. 
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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/31/2010 12:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you both very much for replying.

I've had a further chat to my Dad and I feel better after it. He swore to me he'd tell me if things worsen or if something is seriously wrong. He told me that in his last check up, the doctor said he was doing very well...his cholesterol is really low, as is his blood pressure and blood sugar. The doctor said there was no need for a return visit for another 12 months, which I'm taking to be a very good sign.

We discussed the possibility of an operation and as it stands, the doctor says his condition is manageable with medication and diet and that an op may never be necessary. Much to my reassurance though, my dad said he will happily go under the knife if it becomes a necessity.

He is overweight though and I want to encourage him to lose some...so I'm going to suggest a bargain. I'll give up smoking if he loses weight :)

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 12/14/2010 3:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I completely understand where you're coming from. I'm a heart patient. I was born with a congenital heart disease. I have a 6 year old niece who is at risk for heart failure she is living with only one working side of heart. You'd be surprised what the human body can handle. Btw sometimes i feel that what you find on the internet is alot worse than it can actually be. Although it may seem really scary at times and he probably will just have to be watched closely just stay positive.
Good luck!!!
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