congestive heart failure
Heart failure can be caused by several health conditions, such as high blood pressure, structural defects like dilated cardiomyopathy, and damage resulting from a heart attack. Since factors, such as being overweight, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and using cocaine, increase your risk of heart disease and hasten its progression, you should take charge of your health by changing these habits to help ward off heart failure.
There are some key facts to keep in mind when it comes to congestive heart failure:
- If one or more family members has congestive heart failure, the first step is to get a complete physical.
- Anyone can develop congestive heart failure. However, it’s uncommon for someone younger than age 70.
- Heart failure may progress slowly and have no symptoms at first.
- If the cause of congestive heart failure can be treated, the disease can disappear.
- Usually, the disease isn’t cured. But, if it’s caught early, patients can immediately take steps to keep it from getting worse and live longer healthier lives.
- Weight gain and swollen feet, ankles, or abdomen caused by fluid buildup
- Enlarged neck veins
- Poor appetite, indigestion, nausea, or vomiting
- Shortness of breath or wheezing during activities or while lying down
- Trouble sleeping or difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue and feeling faint
- Heart palpitations
- Dry hacking cough, especially while lying down
- Frequent nighttime urination
Follow these six tips to prevent your risk of congestive heart failure:
1. Manage Chronic Conditions
If you have high blood pressure or coronary artery disease—the most common causes of heart failure—get them under control, along with diabetes, high cholesterol, and thyroid disorders.
2. Quit Smoking
Smoking is a habit that should be eliminated to help prevent heart disease, among other illnesses.
3. Eliminate or Limit Alcohol
If you must drink alcohol, then do not have more than two drinks a day for men and one for women.
4. Cut Back on Salt
Avoid not only table salt, but also processed and high-sodium foods, such as bacon, ham, chips and canned soups and vegetables.
It is important to maintain an exercise regimen as prescribed by your doctor.
6. Lose Weight or Maintain a Healthy Weight
Watch what you eat and drop those pounds if you are overweight.
A Word From Verywell
If despite your best efforts, you develop heart failure, it can be controlled by several means. Scientists are even looking at ways to use gene therapy to treat congestive heart failure.
Until then, successful treatment may include bringing underlying health conditions under control by taking prescribed angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta blockers or diuretics (water pills), or undergoing necessary medical interventions, such as angioplasty (using a balloon to open up arterial blockage) or stenting (widening an artery with a metal device).