How to Live Longer with Heart Failure


Heart failure is one of the severe conditions that can significantly reduce your lifespan if it's not managed correctly. But with the right lifestyle changes and medical treatments, you can substantially increase your life expectancy. This article will discuss how to live longer with heart failure and what treatments are available to improve your quality of life. We'll also provide tips on managing heart failure symptoms and following a healthy lifestyle. Read on to learn more about living a longer, healthier life with heart failure.

What is Heart Failure?

The inability of the heart to pump blood effectively is known as heart failure. There could be many possible reasons, including muscle damage post a heart attack, high blood pressure, or other conditions. A congenital heart defect can also cause heart failure.

Usually, patients feel shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in the legs and abdomen. If not managed properly, this condition that can lead to death. However, apart from treatments, people with heart failure can live longer, healthier lives with simple lifestyle changes.

Things to o to Extend Lifeline

Quit Smoking

Smoking worsens heart failure by damaging the heart and blood vessels, making the heart work harder, and reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood. Thus quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your heart. If you quit smoking, you'll also have less shortness of breath and fatigue and be able to exercise more efficiently.

If you need help quitting smoking, talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy or other medications that can help reduce withdrawal symptoms. Also, consider joining a support group or call a quitline for advice and encouragement.

Avoid or Limit Alcohol

Alcohol can make your body enter dehydration, triggering fatigue, shortness of breath, and irregular heartbeat. Additionally, alcohol can interact with medications used to treat heart failure, making them less effective. And finally, drinking too much alcohol can put undue stress on the heart muscle itself, potentially leading to further complications. For all these reasons, it is best to limit your alcohol intake or avoid it altogether if you are living with heart failure.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

An overweight body puts extra strain on the heart and can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and other conditions contributing to heart failure. Even shading a small amount of weight can help you lower the risk of developing heart failure or improve your prognosis if you already have the condition. A healthy diet and regular exercise are essential for maintaining a healthy weight. You may also need to limit your intake of salt and alcohol, as these can contribute to fluid retention and worsen symptoms of heart failure.

Get Adequate Sleep

Having a good night's sleep improves your overall health, but did you know it may also help improve heart failure? That's right - research has shown that adequate sleep can help people with heart failure live longer, healthier lives.

So how exactly does sleep help? When we sleep, our bodies can repair and regenerate cells, including those in the heart. This cell regeneration is vital for keeping the heart functioning properly. In addition, sleep helps to reduce stress and inflammation, that heavily influence heart disease.

Control High Blood Pressure

When uncontrolled, high blood pressure can lead to heart failure by damaging the heart muscle, causing it to become weaker and less able to pump blood. Over time, this can lead to congestive heart failure, in which your heart may fail to pump enough blood as per requirement. Work with your healthcare team to control your blood pressure. It may involve taking medication, making lifestyle changes, or both. Other modifications may include −

  • Eating a healthy diet.

  • Maintaining a healthy weight.

  • Getting regular exercise.

  • Avoiding tobacco use.

Reduce Stress

Stress can make heart failure worse. It can increase the risk of heart attacks and make the symptoms of heart failure more severe. Reducing stress can help people with heart failure live longer and better lives. There are many ways to reduce stress. Exercise, relaxation techniques, and counseling are all effective methods. People with heart failure should talk to their doctor about the best way to reduce stress.

Supplements for Heart Health

Taking supplements can help your heart function better and improve your overall health if you have heart failure. Some essential vitamins and minerals for heart health include magnesium, potassium, CoQ10, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Magnesium causes over 300 biochemical reactions and is critical for heart health. Potassium regulates our blood pressure and heart rate. CoQ10 is an important antioxidant that helps protect the heart from damage. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Foods to Eat and Avoid with Heart Failure

When you have heart failure, it is essential to control your diet. Eating the right foods can help your heart function better, while eating the wrong foods can worsen your condition.

Here are some general guidelines for what to eat and avoid with heart failure −

  • Add plenty of fruits and vegetables to your diet.

  • Choose whole grains over processed or refined grains.

  • Limit salt (sodium) in your diet. It includes avoiding processed foods, which are often high in salt, as well as adding salt to your food at the table.

  • Avoid sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice. Instead, water or unsweetened tea or coffee would be your best bet.

  • Limit saturated and trans fats found in animal products and processed foods.

  • Avoid alcohol (one drink per day).

Following these dietary guidelines can help improve your heart function and overall health.

Conclusion

Living with heart failure can be a challenge, but understanding the risks and taking action to reduce them is vital. Eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, managing stress levels, avoiding smoking and vaping products, monitoring your medications, and staying in tune with your doctor's treatment plan are ways to lower risk factors for further complications from heart failure. While living longer may not always be possible, as everyone's conditions vary depending on individual health needs, leading a healthier lifestyle can ensure a better quality of life when managing heart failure.

Updated on: 24-Jan-2023

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