Heart failure occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs. It’s a condition that occurs when the heart has been damaged or weakened. Here’s how you can reduce your risk of a heart failure.
1. Don’t smoke
Smoking contributes to the development of blocked arteries, increasing the risk of heart diseases like heart attacks and anginas. In fact, heart failure (also known as coronary disease) most frequently occurs when the heart muscle is damaged by a heart attack, and at least 40% of people who have had a heart attack will subsequently suffer from a heart failure. Talk to your pharmacist if you need help to quit smoking.
2. Reduce your sodium intake
Hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for heart failure. Left undiagnosed and uncontrolled over a long period, hypertension tires out the heart by forcing it to work harder to pump blood through the body and leading eventually to a heart failure. In over one third of Canadian cases, hypertension is caused by an over-consumption of salt. It is possible to lower blood pressure simply by reducing salt consumption. The recommended daily amount of sodium intake is 2 300 mg, or 5 ml (1 teaspoon). It’s important to know that most of the sodium in our diets comes from processed foods like hot dogs, luncheon meats and prepared foods.
3. Reduce trans and saturated fats
Like saturated fat, trans fat has been shown to raise LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels. High levels of LDL cholesterol are an important risk factor for heart diseases. Too much LDL cholesterol has an unhealthy effect on the body because it builds up on the walls of the artery walls, making them narrower and harder (atherosclerosis), which leads to a complete blockage of blood flow and, eventually, to a heart attack (leading cause of heart failure). In addition, trans fats lower the levels of HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), another important risk factor for heart diseases. A diet that is low in saturated fats (like red meat and high-fat dairy products) and trans fats (like cookies and baked goods) is a good way to lower your risk of heart disease and, as a result, of heart failure.
Physical inactivity and a lack of regular exercise are important risk factors of heart disease. In fact, people who are physically inactive have twice the risk of suffering from a heart disease than active people. Making physical activity part of your life can greatly benefit your health and reduce your risk of heart disease and heart failure. Regular activity also impacts the risks of other cardiovascular diseases. Plus, it helps lower LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides, raise levels of HDL cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, control weight and blood sugar. It is best to exercise regularly for a total of 150 minutes a week.
Did you know that:
— It is estimated that 500,000 Canadians are living with heart failure.
— Hypertension is a serious illness for which there is no cure.
— The average annual mortality rate for congestive heart failure is 10% per year with a 50% five-year survival rate.
Consult your pharmacist for more information.
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