Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. About 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
What is Congestive Heart Failure?
Heart failure, often called congestive heart failure, occurs when the heart is unable to provide sufficient pump action to maintain blood flow to meet the needs of the body. Heart failure can cause a number of symptoms including shortness of breath, leg swelling, and exercise intolerance.
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when you exert yourself or when you lie down
- Fatigue and weakness
- Swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles and feet
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
- Increased need to urinate at night
- Swelling of your abdomen (ascites)
- Very rapid weight gain from fluid retention
- Lack of appetite and nausea
- Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
- Sudden, severe shortness of breath and coughing up pink, foamy mucus
- Chest pain if your heart failure is caused by a heart attack
Risk factors include:
- High blood pressure. Your heart works harder than it has to if your blood pressure is high.
- Coronary artery disease. Narrowed arteries may limit your heart's supply of oxygen-rich blood, resulting in weakened heart muscle.
- Heart attack. A heart attack is a form of coronary disease that occurs suddenly. Damage to your heart muscle from a heart attack may mean your heart can no longer pump as well as it should.
- Diabetes. Having diabetes increases your risk of high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
- Some diabetes medications. The diabetes drugs rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos) have been found to increase the risk of heart failure in some people. Don't stop taking these medications on your own, though. If you're taking them, discuss with your doctor whether you need to make any changes.
- Certain medications. Some medications may lead to heart failure or heart problems.
- Sleep apnea. The inability to breathe properly while you sleep at night results in low blood oxygen levels and an increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms. Both of these problems can weaken the heart.
- Congenital heart defects. Some people who develop heart failure were born with structural heart defects.
- Valvular heart disease. People with valvular heart disease have a higher risk of heart failure.
- Viruses. A viral infection may have damaged your heart muscle.
- Alcohol use. Drinking too much alcohol can weaken heart muscle and lead to heart failure.
- Tobacco use. Using tobacco can increase your risk of heart failure.
- Obesity. People who are obese have a higher risk of developing heart failure.
- Irregular heartbeats. These abnormal rhythms, especially if they are very frequent and fast, can weaken the heart muscle and cause heart failure.
In order to prevent heart failure, the key is to reduce the risk factors. These risk factors can be controlled or eliminated by adopting a sustainable lifestyle. All care with the help of its wellness team helps the patients in adopting a healthy way of life which helps in reducing the risk of heart failures.
Some of the Lifestyle changes that one can adopt are:
Take Your First Step Towards a Healthy Heart
- Not smoking
- Controlling high blood pressure and diabetes
- Staying physically active
- Eating healthy foods
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Reducing and managing stress