Can My Lifestyle Influence the Risk for Congestive Heart Failure?
Heart Failure means that due to some reasons, the heart is unable to pump blood to the body in the normal range. In most of the cases, heart failure is caused by reasons like high blood pressure, impaired heart muscles, heart attack, heredity inheritance, stress, addiction to alcohol/recreational drugs, pulmonary hypertension, viral infection, cancer treatments and many more.
This condition is often associated with swelling of the abdominal or peripheral parts, fatigue and shortness of breath, even when you are at rest. Due to heart failure, the heart lacks the capacity to pump blood to the body efficiently. This leads to pooling of fluid in the lower limbs. This fluid if allowed to accumulate can reach the abdomen and beneath the lungs. The accumulation of fluid beneath the lungs is the major cause behind difficulty in breathing.
Heart Failures are diagnosed based on family history and physical examinations. Various blood tests, electrocardiogram, X-ray, coronary angiogram and echocardiogram. After getting the investigation results, the doctor can discuss the class or stage of heart failure with the patient.
Prescribed medications and lifestyle changes can definitely affect the way you live with heart failure, after diagnosis. The symptoms of heart failure are generally subjective and the way they are managed depends on the individuals and medical advices from registered practitioners.
Are you at a risk for Congestive Heart Failure? Are you having a Congestive Heart Failure? Do you want to know if your lifestyle can cause/ worsen your Heart Failure? Yes. Lifestyle definitely plays a role in causing and worsening your heart disease. While there is no cure for heart failure yet, only lifestyle changes can manage and keep the condition stable.
Here are few tips/lifestyle changes that will help you prevent heart failure and
also help in preventing it from getting worse:
Check your blood pressure/BP regularly:
According to the studies, more than two-thirds of patients reporting with heart failure have a history or complaint of high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90, you are having high BP. High BP causes heart failure. Take steps to keep it in the normal range. Avoid salt as it raises BP.
Check your blood sugar levels often:
If you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk of developing a heart failure.
Monitor your sugar levels often. Avoid sugar in any form. Physical activity is a good way to keep the blood sugar level in control.
Check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels often and keep them under control:
Bad cholesterol/ LDL is bad for your heart. It increases the chances of all sorts of heart diseases. 40 minutes of brisk walk/20 minutes of jogging a day are best ways to reduce your LDL. Triglycerides are unwanted fats/ calories present in your blood stream. They increase the risk of diseases like heart failures.
Staying physically active helps your heart. It also improves your diabetes and high BP. It prevents them as well. Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise in a week. Any form of mild exercise is important to keep the risk the heart failure in control.
Smoking/ tobacco takes a toll on your health. It harms heart and poses a risk to many diseases such as Lupus. Take your doctor’s help to quit smoking.
Go for a healthy diet:
Fruits, vegetables, nuts and low fat dairy are healthy. Fruits, vegetables and nuts are rich sources of fiber. They keep you full for longer hours. When you are full, you are less likely to crave for unhealthy foods. Keep healthy snacks such as roasted chickpeas handy!
Avoid unhealthy foods:
Sugar, sweets and beverages that contain sugar, carry unnecessary calories but no nutrition. They increase your weight and put you at a higher risk.
Avoid processed foods:
Contrary to normal beliefs, sugar, processed food and refined carbohydrates are harmful for the body, but not the saturated fats found in eggs, butter etc.
Ready to eat meals carry salt, chemicals and preservatives that harm your health. Eat fresh as much as possible.
Keep your weight in the normal range:
Overweight / obesity is another reason for diseases. Ask your doctor about the normal weight for your height. Some healthy foods too carry a lot of calories. Mind your portion size. Take steps to keep it in the normal range.
Long term and regular use of alcohol leads to thinning of the heart muscles and impairs the efficient pumping action. Heavy alcohol consumption which exceeds the recommended daily limits, can also cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Excess alcohol consumption also leads to high BP, obesity/excess weight, which are again predisposing factors for heart failure.
Chronic exposure to stress means the body is facing persistent and elevated levels of stress hormones called cortisol and adrenaline. Stress is also related to the way blood clotting occurs in the body and this increase the risk of heart failure in people who are highly stressed. 8 hours of sleep a day tames stress, which itself reduces the likelihood of many diseases including heart diseases.
Omega 3 fatty acids help heart health:
They reduce bad cholesterol, thus reduce chances of heart diseases. Fishes such as Salmon and Tuna are rich sources of Omega3s. Have at least 2 to 3 servings of fish a week but mind the portion size.
Do you have loud snoring? It’s one of the signs of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition wherein your throat tissue relaxes and blocks the passage to lungs. This is more likely to lead to heart diseases. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor.
Metabolic syndrome doubles the risk for heart diseases. You have a metabolic syndrome if you have any 3 of the following:
- Fasting blood sugar above 110 mg/dl
- HDL/ good cholesterol below 50 mg/dl
- Triglycerides above 150 mg/dl
- Blood pressure more than 130/85 mmhg
- Waist measuring more than 35 inches
- Lifestyle plays a key role in causing and worsening your heart disease.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid unhealthy foods.