More than 5 million American are living with congestive heart failure
“I was feeling tired and weak from congestive heart failure. I needed a pacemaker and an ICD. I am Welford, and these days I walk 2 hours every day. I’m enjoying life again.”
With defibrillator, congestive heart failure patient is enjoying life again
Welford was in his late forties when he began feeling weak, as though all the energy had been drained out of him. He experienced a few dizzy spells but shrugged them off. “I was too young for something like heart failure to be happening to me,” says Welford. “I put off dealing with it for too long, until it was almost too late.”
Fortunately, he sought treatment in time. His doctors at George Washington University Hospital implanted a pacemaker and later a biventricular ICD. The ICD monitors his heartbeat and delivers a shock if the rhythm gets out of sync.
“I also learned how to eat right – fruits and vegetables, no fried foods anymore. I used to love fried chicken, but now I barely miss it because I feel so much better,” says Welford. “I walk two hours every day now and have lost 40 pounds. I haven’t felt this good in 25 years.”
These days, Welford feels up to working in his yard and tinkering with cars, two favorite activities he had given up in the days when his undiagnosed heart failure was sapping his strength and energy. His wife and two sons worry sometimes that he might overdo it, but Welford assures them that he knows to stop and rest if he gets tired.
“It took a near-death experience,” he says, “but now I’m enjoying life again.”