Keeping Your Heart Beating Healthily

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • Five million Americans suffer from heart failure, a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to the body’s other organs. This can result in a build up of blood in the veins, and fluid in your extremities (edema) and your lungs (pulmonary congestion).

    The build up of fluid in your lungs can interfere with breathing and cause shortness of breath, especially when lying down. People who suffer from congestive heart failure aren’t able to exert themselves physically. In severe cases, this condition may require a heart transplant, but for most people it can be treated through lifestyle and medication.
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    It can take years for heart failure to develop and so it is never too early to make healthy changes to your lifestyle to prevent it. While genetic factors like congenital heart defects can cause congestive heart failure – coronary artery disease is another major factor in the development of this condition. Coronary artery disease is when your arteries are narrowed due to the build up of plaque; this lessens the amount of blood that can flow through the arteries to your heart.

    Following a heart healthy diet may help reduce your risk of congestive heart failure. Eating a diet low in saturated fat and eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids instead can help prevent a build up of plaque in your arteries and allow adequate blood flow to your heart. Being physically active can also help prevent this build up.

    If you currently suffer from congestive heart failure, diet can play an important role in preventing an occurrence. You should avoid salt because it can cause a build up of fluid in your extremities, around your lungs and heart. Weigh yourself regularly to monitor any sudden weight gain due to fluid. You should also avoid foods that are high in saturated fat.

Published On: February 27, 2007