Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands.
It affects approximately 6 million adults in the United States and is a leading cause of hospitalization among people over 65.
Fortunately, heart failure is preventable through lifestyle modifications and early intervention. In this review, we will discuss the various strategies for preventing heart failure.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is a significant risk factor for heart failure. The heart has to work harder to pump blood to the excess body tissue, which can cause it to weaken and eventually fail.
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial in preventing heart failure. A healthy body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9.
To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, one should follow a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, and limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and saturated and trans fats.
Stay Physically Active
Regular physical activity is essential for preventing heart failure. Exercise strengthens the heart and improves its efficiency, which helps prevent heart failure.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, most days of the week.
If you are new to exercise or have a chronic health condition, consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart failure. The chemicals in cigarette smoke damage the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart failure.
If you smoke, quitting is the single most important step you can take to prevent heart failure. The benefits of quitting smoking start immediately and continue to improve over time.
Manage Chronic Conditions
Several chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea, can increase the risk of heart failure. Managing these conditions can help prevent heart failure.
If you have a chronic health condition, work closely with your doctor to manage it effectively.
This may include taking medications, following a special diet, or using a medical device, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for sleep apnea.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption can weaken the heart muscle and increase the risk of heart failure.
The American Heart Association recommends that men limit their alcohol consumption to two drinks per day, and women limit their alcohol consumption to one drink per day.
One drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Chronic stress can increase the risk of heart failure. Stress triggers the release of hormones that can damage the heart and blood vessels.
To manage stress, try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Regular physical activity and a healthy diet can also help reduce stress.
Regular check-ups with a doctor can help detect and treat any health problems that may increase the risk of heart failure.
During a check-up, the doctor will check blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.
If any of these values are high, the doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments to manage them effectively.
Heart failure is a preventable condition.
Maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, quitting smoking, managing chronic conditions, limiting alcohol consumption, managing stress, and regular check-ups with a doctor are some of the strategies that can help prevent heart failure.
By making these lifestyle modifications and seeking early intervention when necessary, one can significantly reduce the risk of heart failure and enjoy a healthy and fulfilling life.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and flu and COVID vaccines may increase heart disease risk.
For more information about health, please see recent studies that Vitamin D deficiency can increase heart disease risk, and results showing vitamin B6 linked to lower death risk in heart disease.
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