Heart Failure And Prevention

Heart failure can be deadly when complicated by such heart irritants as obesity, arterial plaque, overworked hearts, stress, lack of exercise, smoking, and old age. In cases in which there is a family history of heart failure, one’s heart will have thinner muscle walls than is normal; it is usually complicated by one of the irritants listed above. Plaque lines the walls of the arteries that supply the heart with blood, resulting in a lack of blood getting to the heart. The heart then has to go in to overdrive in order to get blood through its thinner systemic arteries.

Some specific disorders categorized under heart failure include:

• dropsy

• left-side (systolic) heart failure – lower amounts of blood are pumped out of the heart. People who have left-side failure inevitably will have right-side failure.

• right-side (diastolic) heart failure – this affects the heart’s capacity to fill with blood and pump blood to the lungs. Some symptoms of RSHF include shortness of breath, fatigue, and fluid build-up in the feet, legs, liver, abdomen, and sometimes in the veins of the neck.

Diseases that can cause heart failure include:

• Coronary heart disease (CAD): plaque that builds up in blood vessels as a result of damage caused by eating high-fat and high-salt foods, thus compromising blood flow and oxygen transport – this can eventually lead to a heart attack.

• High blood pressure: when the force of blood against the artery walls stays at or above 140/90 mmHG over time, this stresses the blood vessels and the heart which causes damage

• Diabetes: when the body is unable to make insulin, a hormone that converts the sugars in food to energy, higher amounts of sugar in the blood can cause more damage to blood vessels.

• Heart muscle or valve disease /arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats): defect of the heart itself arising from birth defect, infection, or damage from heart disease.

• Congenital heart defects: these present at birth

• Cancer and associated treatment

• Thyroid disorders

• Alcohol abuse

• HIV / AIDS

Prevention of Heart Failure

It is important that senior citizens stay proactive about their health and preventing heart failure. Seniors should work with those assisting with their eldercare and other health care professionals use the steps that you can take in advance to prevent heart failure:

For people with healthy hearts:

• Follow a healthy eating plan

• Do not smoke or avoid second-hand smoke

• Maintain a healthy weight for you

• Participate in healthy amounts of physical activity

• Do not use or abuse illicit drugs

When the symptoms of heart failure are severe, patients are advised to rest in bed. When the symptoms are only mild or moderate, then they are recommended to engage in light physical activity. Losing weight is also advisable for obese sufferers of heart failure. Excessive salt intake has been found to exacerbate heart failure; thus, salt free diets are often prescribed to patients suffering from this condition. Individuals afflicted with heart failure tend to have a diminished ability to excrete free water.

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