Eat A Heart Healthy Diet
This means focusing on:
- High-fiber whole grains, such as oatmeal and barley
- Low to moderate consumption of red wine
Limit saturated fat, trans fats, sodium, fatty cuts of red meat and other proteins, and soda, baked goods, and other foods and beverages with large amounts of added refined sugar. The Mediterranean diet is based on these principles and has been associated with cardiovascular health.
What Is The Outlook With Heart Failure
With the right care, congestive heart failure wont stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis, or outlook for the future, will depend on:
- How well your heart muscle is working.
- How well you respond to your treatment plan.
- How well you follow your treatment plan.
One study says that people with heart failure have a life span 10 years shorter than those who dont have heart failure. Another study showed that the survival rates of people with chronic heart failure were 80% to 90% for one year, but that dropped to 50% to 60% for year five and down to 30% for 10 years.
A different study found that people who had heart failure and were discharged from the hospital had expected life spans ranging from three to 20 years, depending on various factors like age and gender. Its important to look at your specific situation when considering your prognosis.
Putting It All Together
You can help prevent heart disease by doing five key things and making them into habits:
Strong studies make it possible to link reductions in risk to these habits. Following a healthy lifestyle may prevent over 80% of cases of coronary artery disease, 50% of ischemic strokes, 80% of sudden cardiac deaths, and 72% of premature deaths related to heart disease. In other words, a healthy lifestyle is a good investment in a longer, healthier life.
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About Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure, sometimes called congestive cardiac failure , is a condition in which the heart muscle is weakened and cant pump as well as it usually does. The main pumping chambers of the heart can change size and thickness, and either cant contract or cant relax as well as they should. This triggers fluid retention, particularly in the lungs, legs and abdomen.
The major causes of heart failure include coronary heart disease and heart attack, high blood pressure, damage to the heart muscle , heart valve problems and abnormal heart rhythms. Of these, coronary heart disease and heart attack are the most common causes.
The major factors that contribute to coronary heart disease include:
- reduced emotional and social wellbeing
- physical inactivity.
Heart failure is more common in elderly people. The survival rate for people with this disorder depends on the severity of their condition.
When Cooking Or Preparing Food:
- Shake the habit. Remove the salt shaker from the kitchen counter and table. A 1/8 teaspoon “salt shake” adds more than 250 milligrams of sodium to your dish.
- Be creative. Instead of adding salt, spark up the flavor with herbs and spices, garlic, onions and citrus juices. See the recipes for salt-free herb blends, below.
- Be a low-salt cook. In most recipes, you can cut back on salt by 50 percent or even eliminate it altogether. You can bake, broil, grill, roast, poach, steam or microwave foods without salt. Skip the urge to add salt to cooking water for pasta, rice, cereal and vegetables. It is an easy way to cut back on sodium.
- Be careful with condiments. High-sodium condiments include various flavored salts, lemon pepper, garlic salt, onion salt, meat tenderizers, flavor enhancers, bouillon cubes, catsup, mustard, steak sauce and soy sauce.
- Stay away from hidden salt. Canned and processed foods, such as gravies, instant cereal, packaged noodles and potato mixes, olives, pickles, soups and vegetables are high in salt. Choose the frozen item instead or better yet, choose fresh foods when you can. Cheeses, cured meats , fast foods and frozen foods also may contain a lot of sodium.
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Causes Of Heart Failure
The heart is a double pump made up of four chambers. Deoxygenated blood from the veins enters the right upper chamber , is passed to the right lower chamber , and then pumped to the lungs.
Oxygenated blood from the lungs enters the left upper chamber and then enters the left lower chamber . The blood is then pumped around the body, under pressure, via arteries.
In a person with heart failure, one or both ventricles dont empty properly. This leads to increased pressure in the atria and the nearby veins. This backlog of blood can affect the kidneys and lungs interfering with their function and leading to a build-up of fluid in the lungs, abdominal organs and legs.
In some people with heart failure, rather than failed pumping of the blood from the ventricle, there is failed relaxation of the ventricle.
If the heart is not pumping and becomes stiff and unable to relax, it can cause the blood to pool in the hearts ventricles. This can cause pressure build up and can put strain on the heart.
Heart failure can be caused by several conditions, including:
Is There A Treatment For Heart Failure
There are more treatment options available for heart failure than ever before. Tight control over your medications and lifestyle, coupled with careful monitoring, are the first steps. As the condition progresses, doctors specializing in the treatment of heart failure can offer more advanced treatment options.
The goals of treating heart failure are to try to keep it from getting worse , to ease symptoms, and to improve quality of life.
Some common types of medicines used to treat it are:
- Aldosterone antagonists
- Selective sinus node inhibitors
- SGLT2 inhibitor
Your doctor may also recommend a program called cardiac rehabilitation to help you exercise safely and keep up a heart-healthy lifestyle. It usually includes workouts that are designed just for you, education, and tips to lower your chance of heart trouble, like quitting smoking or changing your diet.
Cardiac rehab also offers emotional support. You can meet people like you who can help you stay on track.
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Tips For Limiting Fluid Intake
In addition to limiting sodium, a doctor may also recommend limiting fluids. This helps to keep the heart from being overloaded with fluids throughout the day.
While the amount of fluid restriction varies from person to person, doctors often recommend people with CHF aim for 2,000 milliliters of fluid a day. This is the equivalent of 2 quarts of fluid.
When it comes to restricting fluid, make sure to account for anything thats a fluid at room temperature. This includes things like soups, gelatin, and ice cream.
Portion Out Your Fluids
Try to distribute your fluid consumption throughout your day. If you wake up and drink a bunch of coffee and water, you might not have much room for other fluids throughout the day.
Budget the 2,000 mL throughout your day. For example, have 500 mL for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This leaves with room for two 250 mL drinks between meals.
Work with your doctor to determine how much you need to restrict your fluid intake.
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Diet And Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart does not pump efficiently and does not deliver enough oxygen to your body. Many diseases lead to CHF, such as high blood pressure and diseases of the heart and kidney.
Treatment for CHF helps to prevent its complications and relieve its symptoms.
The heart does not have to work as hard when you make some changes in your diet. If you eat too much salt or drink too much fluid, your body’s water content may increase and make your heart work harder. This can worsen your CHF. The following diet will help decrease some of your symptoms.
Physical Activity And Heart Failure Incidence
In contrast, cardiorespiratory fitness can be directly measured and is closely related to physical activity and exercise. In the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, mid-life cardiorespiratory fitness was measured by exercise testing and was observed to be strongly and inversely associated with HF mortality over the next 20 years . Furthermore, fit individuals had significantly reduced risk of HF mortality compared with unfit individuals with the same risk factor profiles, demonstrating that the benefits of cardiorespiratory fitness were independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors. The associations of physical activity with cardiorespiratory fitness were not explored.
The preceding reports demonstrate consistent findings linking higher physical activity, less sedentary time, and improved physical fitness with a reduced risk of HF. However, causal inferences are limited by the observational design of these prior investigations. Of greatest concern, perhaps, is the possibility of reverse causality whereby subclinical or undiagnosed cardiac dysfunction may be associated with lower levels of physical activity , thereby apparently resulting in the association of the latter with HF risk. In order to further evaluate the impact of physical activity on HF risk, we will explore the associations of physical activity across the stages of HF disease progression.
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Helpful Tips For Prevention
If you’re concerned about your risk for congestive heart failure, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk. One is to quit smoking or reduce exposure to second-hand smoke. You can also limit your alcohol consumption. Keep your blood pressure under control by exercising regularly, losing weight if necessary, and eating a healthy diet. Managing your diabetes can also help reduce your risk for heart failure, and limiting and managing stress can help as well.
It is possible to live a healthy life with heart failure as long as you know the symptoms and your risk, and take steps to reduce them.
Tracking Your Daily Fluid Intake
If you have heart failure, its common for your body to retain fluid. So your healthcare team may recommend limiting your liquid intake.
Many people are prescribed diuretics to help them get rid of extra water and sodium to reduce their hearts workload.
Talk with your doctor about how much liquid to drink every day.
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How Is Heart Failure Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you many questions about your symptoms and medical history. Youâll be asked about any conditions you have that may cause heart failure . Youâll be asked if you smoke, take drugs, drink alcohol , and about what drugs you take.
Youâll also get a complete physical exam. Your doctor will listen to your heart and look for signs of heart failure as well as other illnesses that may have caused your heart muscle to weaken or stiffen.
Your doctor may also order other tests to determine the cause and severity of your heart failure. These include:
Other tests may be ordered, depending on your condition.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Extra pounds can interfere with blood circulation and put excess pressure and stress on the heart. Losing a few of those pounds can make a big difference in preventing heart failure and promoting general heart health.
Studies have shown that even a modest weight loss of 5% to 10% can lead to significant improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, and co-morbidities associated with increased weight.
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Congestive Heart Failure Prevention
The best way to prevent damage that leads to heart failure is to know the risk factors in your life and make changes to control them. This could include changes in your lifestyle or medication.
For example, stop smoking or dont pick up the habit. Lose weight and adopt healthier eating habits. Get some exercise and learn ways to reduce stress in your life. Take medication for diabetes and high blood pressure if your doctor prescribes them.
Its also important to learn the symptoms of congestive heart failure. The most common symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
Symptoms Of Heart Failure
Symptoms of heart failure include:
- new or worsening shortness of breath
- difficulty lying flat at night
- fainting or passing out
- muscular fatigue, tiredness
- swelling of ankles or legs
- swelling of abdomen
- heart palpitations
- chest pain or discomfort in parts of the upper body
- unexplained coughing and wheezing
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Maintaining Or Losing Weight
Sudden weight gain or loss can be a sign that youre developing heart failure, or that your heart failure is progressing.Weigh yourself at the same time each morning, preferably before breakfast and after urinating. Notify your healthcare professional if you gain three or more pounds in one day, five or more pounds in one week, or whatever amount you were told to report.
What Are The Treatments For Heart Failure
Your treatment will depend on the type of heart failure you have and how serious it is. There’s no cure for heart failure. But treatment can help you live longer with fewer symptoms.
Even with treatment, heart failure usually gets worse over time, so you’ll likely need treatment for the rest of your life.
Most treatment plans include:
You may need heart surgery if:
- You have a congenital heart defect or damage to your heart that can be fixed.
- The left side of your heart is getting weaker and putting a device in your chest could help. Devices include:
- A biventricular pacemaker .
- A mechanical heart pump or a total artificial heart).
As part of your treatment, you’ll need to pay close attention to your symptoms, because heart failure can worsen suddenly. Your provider may suggest a cardiac rehabilitation program to help you learn how to manage your condition.
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How Do I Prevent Chf Exacerbations
In many studies of CHF patients who come to the emergency department, one very common cause of CHF exacerbation was the failure to restrict salt in the diet. You should discuss this issue with your doctor or dietitian. Learn how to read food packages for their salt content. Avoid using salt in your cooking. Dont eat high-salt foods when you are out to eat.
Another common cause of CHF exacerbations is non-compliance with medication regimen. There are many reasons for which a patient will stop taking medications. Some experience unpleasant side effects some cannot afford to buy the medication others forget or dont want to accept the fact that they are sick and need the medication.
Medications given for CHF are not optional they are a necessary, lifesaving part of your daily schedule. If you have a problem with a medication, discuss it with your doctor. Many drug side effects decrease or disappear after a few weeks. Some dont go away, but by changing the drug to another brand or different class, your doctor can achieve the same beneficial effects while avoiding the unpleasant side effects.
Lung infections can result in less oxygen getting to the heart. To help prevent lung infections, patients with CHF should receive influenza vaccine yearly and a pneumococcal vaccination every 5 years. These can prevent some lung infections and reduce the amount of CHF exacerbations.
Outlook For Heart Failure
Heart failure is a serious long-term condition that will usually continue to get slowly worse over time.
It can severely limit the activities you’re able to do and is often eventually fatal.
But it’s very difficult to tell how the condition will progress on an individual basis.
It’s very unpredictable. Lots of people remain stable for many years, while in some cases it may get worse quickly.
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Living With Congestive Heart Failure: What To Expect
Yes, there are several lifestyle changes you should take into account if youve been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. But remember your diagnosis doesnt mean you should necessarily stop doing things you love.
You are supposed to be exercising walking, biking, swimming, or doing light weight exercises, says Mountis. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity at least five days a week for optimal heart health. Avoid exercises that make you feel breathless, and make sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Your healthcare provider will also likely suggest dietary changes that can help reduce the swelling associated with congestive heart failure and slow the progression of the condition. Those changes may include following a low- or reduced-salt diet, or reducing how much fluid you drink to lessen the bodys water content.
Other lifestyle changes that can slow the progression of heart failure include: