According to Heart.org, heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. In other words, the heart can’t keep up with its workload. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) states about 6.5 million adults in the United States suffer from heart failure. There are certain risk factors and warning signs to be aware of. Here is what you should know:
Risk Factors and Causes:
The CDC states that certain medical conditions and unhealthy behaviors can increase your risk of heart failure, including:
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- High Blood Pressure
- Valvular Heart Disease
- Smoking Tobacco
- Eating foods high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium
- Little to no physical activity
- Excessive alcohol intake
What are the symptoms of heart failure?
According to Heart.Org and the CDC, common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Having trouble breathing when lying down
- Noticeable weight gain with swelling in the feet, legs, ankles or stomach.
- A general feeling of being tired and weak
- Lack of appetite or nausea
- Memory loss and feelings of disorientation
- Heart palpations or increased heart rate
Who develops heart failure?
Heart.org states, “Heart failure is a serious, long-term (chronic) condition. It’s more likely to happen as you age, but anyone can develop heart failure. Still, if you have heart failure, you can live a full and active life with the right medical treatment and lifestyle.”
Many cardiac disorders can be inherited, including arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, and high blood cholesterol. Coronary artery disease leading to heart attack, stroke, and heart failure can run in families, indicating inherited genetic risk factors.
What are the treatments?
According to the CDC, early diagnosis and treatment can improve the quality and length of people with heart failure. Treatments include:
- Taking medicines
- Reducing sodium in the diet
- Drinking less liquids
- Devices that remove excess salt and water from the blood
- Heart transplant and other surgeries
- Getting daily physical activity