Heart failure is a serious problem in America, and it’s becoming more common every year.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart failure affects more than 5 million Americans of all ages. This disorder is a serious medical condition that affects the function of your heart. When your heart doesn't pump blood as well as it should, the rest of your body can be affected. If left untreated, heart failure can lead to hospitalization and even death. The good news is that many people who have heart failure can lead active lives with the right treatment and prevention techniques. This blog post covers the facts you should know about heart failure, including its causes, signs and symptoms, and prevention options.
Causes of Heart Failure
The following are some of the risk factors that can lead to heart failure:
- Heart Attack - A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to the heart muscle is reduced or blocked, depriving the heart of oxygen. This can damage or eliminate some of the heart muscle. When this happens, the remaining healthy heart muscle has to work harder to pump enough blood and oxygen throughout the body. Over time, this can lead to heart failure.
- High Blood Pressure - High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a common problem that affects many people. Hypertension can lead to heart failure, a serious condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. It can lead to heart failure if not treated.
- Drinking Alcohol - According to a Journal of the American College of Cardiology study, alcohol consumption can cause heart failure. The study found that heavy drinking increases the risk of heart failure by 40 percent, and even moderate drinking can increase the risk by 20 percent.
- Sleep Apnea - If you have sleep apnea, you're at an increased risk of developing heart failure. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that inhibits efficient breathing during sleep. It can lead to several health problems, including heart failure.
- Coronary Artery Disease - Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of heart failure in the United States. As plaque builds up in the arteries, it can and likely will restrict blood flow and lead to heart failure. Early detection and treatment of coronary artery disease can help preserve your heart health.
Signs of Potential Heart Failure
The following are some of the common signs and symptoms of heart failure that you should look out for:
- Coughing or wheezing that is persistent, with blood-tinged mucous
- Legs, ankles, and feet swelling due to fluid accumulation as a result of heart failure
- A fast or erratic heartbeat characterized by fainting or shortness of breath
- Exercise capacity has been reduced due to shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Shortness of breath during physical exertion or when resting down
- Weakness and fatigue
- If a heart attack triggers heart failure, you may have chest discomfort.
- Rapid weight increase due to fluid retention
- Nauseousness and a loss of appetite
- Difficulty focusing or a loss of attentiveness
- Pain in the chest
- Congestion is characterized by breathing difficulty, wheezing, and coughing
Heart Failure Prevention
You can help avoid heart failure by making some lifestyle changes. Many people suffer from stress and do not realize its impact on their health. Stress can lead to heart failure, so it is important to find ways to reduce and manage stress.
Did you know that being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of heart failure? Regular exercise has been shown to improve heart function and help control blood pressure. Losing weight is not only good for your appearance, but it can also be good for your health. If you are overweight or obese, losing even just a small amount of weight can help prevent heart failure. Following a nutritious diet is one of the best ways to prevent heart failure. A nutritious diet is low in sodium and saturated fats while high in fiber and fruits and vegetables. Consuming a balanced diet can help keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of heart failure.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and smoking can increase your risk for heart failure. If you’re a smoker, quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health.