Congestive heart failure is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your heart muscle fails to pump blood as efficiently as it should. Approximately 5 million people in the United States alone have congestive heart failure today.
In more technical terms, heart failure occurs when there is an increase in pressure and a decrease in the blood flow to the rest of the body. When the heart cannot pump enough blood, hence oxygen and nutrients into the body, it expands to compensate for the lack of flow, and over time, it thickens and gets stiff. However, eventually, the heart muscles cannot keep up with the demands and weaken. So to prevent the condition, here are the risk factors and causes associated with congestive heart failure.
Are you at risk of congestive heart failure?
If you already have a diagnosed heart condition, there are risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing congestive heart failure.
– Alcohol: Excess alcohol weakens the heart muscles over time.
– Tobacco: Smoking leads to the narrowing of your arteries, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
– Being overweight: Overeating and being overweight puts you at a higher risk of developing congestive heart failure.
High blood pressure leads to congestive heart failure. High blood pressure is a result of the blood vessels becoming blocked by fat and cholesterol.
Coronary Artery Disease
Trans, saturated fats and cholesterol block the arteries which are responsible for transporting blood to the heart. When your arteries get blocked, they also become narrow, which limit blood flow and cause damage.
Heart Valve Conditions
Your heart valves are responsible for the regulation of blood flow in the chambers of the heart. When you have a heart defect or infection, these valves cannot function properly and put too much strain on the chambers to pump blood.
If you have diabetes but do not have it under control, high blood sugar levels (glucose) may begin to damage blood vessels and nerves, which can cause heart failure. Furthermore, some diabetes drugs, like Avandia, may increase the risk of heart failure.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes difficulty breathing while asleep, which lowers the oxygen level in your blood and causes rhythmic irregularities in the heart. The condition can damage the heart over time.
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