How Can I Avoid Congestive Heart Failure?
When it comes to avoiding CHF,
there are things within your control and things that are not. Dealing
with the things within your control involves planning, effort and
perseverance. Dealing with the issues outside of your control involves
investigation and persistence.
Here are a few areas that are greatly affected by
the lifestyle choices you make.
Control Your Diet
To maximize a heart-healthy diet choose foods that are typically
low in salt, saturated fat and cholesterol. Limiting sodium
which we get through salt, baking powder, baking soda and other
substances in foods we eat is one of the most important things
that people with heart failure can do. Sodium makes the body hold
on to fluid, which makes the heart work harder to move the extra
Moderate physical activity can help the heart get stronger. With
daily exercise, most people will find that they dont feel
as tired, they have less stress and their energy level increases.
Other advantages include weight control or weight loss, better circulation,
and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Thats a lot
of benefits for a little physical effort.
Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol
Smokers who have heart failure can automatically eliminate a major
source of stress on their heart by quitting. Each puff of nicotine
from tobacco smoke temporarily increases heart rate and blood pressure,
even as less oxygen-rich blood circulates through the body. Smoking
also leads to clumping or stickiness in the blood vessels feeding
the heart. People who quit smoking are more likely to have their
heart failure symptoms improve.
If you drink, do so in moderation. The incidence
of heart disease in those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol
(no more than two drinks per day for men or one drink per day for
women) is lower than in nondrinkers. However, with increased intake
of alcohol, there are increased health dangers including high blood
pressure, obesity and stroke.
Know Your Family History
Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop
it themselves. African Americans have more severe hypertension than
whites and their risk of heart disease is greater. You should, to
the degree you are able, endeavor to learn as much about your family's
heart history as possible. Knowledge is power; in this case, power
to save your life.
The American Heart Association says that epidemiologic and clinical
trials have shown that omega-3
fatty acids reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Healthy people, people at high risk of CVD and patients with preexisting
CVD all benefit.
The heart becomes oxygen depleted when blood flow
to the heart is restricted (ischemia). A consequence of this ischemia
is a substantial lowering of tissue energy, as evidenced by decreased
myocardial ATP (the main energy transport molecule) levels. These
lowered energy levels cause depressed cardiac function, and worse
they prevent the cells in the heart from healing themselves.
Because the body must go through many steps to convert
food to energy, recent studies suggest that a person may dramatically
increase the rate at which the ATP levels are restored at a cellular
level by introducing D
Ribose, a simple sugar, directly into the body in the form of
a dietary supplement. D
Ribose is readily converted into ATP, allowing the energy to
once again be restored to the heart cells.