What is Heart Failure

According to the 2016 statistics from the American Heart Association, approximately 6.2 million Americans over 20 years of age have heart failure. In 2017, there were 960,000 new cases of heart failure diagnosed in the US. The American Heart Association predicts that the prevalence of heart failure will increase by almost 50% by 2030. The medical cost for heart failure will increase by more than 127% by 2030.  

Astounding statistics. 

What is heart failure?

The hearts performance is impaired. It either doesn’t properly fill with blood and/or doesn’t properly eject the blood out of the heart. When the body is not receiving the amount of blood necessary it is not getting the proper amount of oxygen to the working tissues/cells.  When those cells are not receiving adequate oxygen rich blood they cannot function properly.

Symptoms of Heart Failure

  • ❤️  Shortness of breath with exertion or lying flat.
  • ❤️  Fatigue and overall weakness
  • ❤️  Persistent cough
  • ❤️  Swelling in the lower extremities and or weight gain
  • ❤️  Reduced exercise tolerance

Once you have been diagnosed with heart failure it’s important to work closely with your healthcare team. Some things to watch for are:

  • ❤️  Rapid weight gain
  • ❤️  Increase in swelling of the lower legs
  • ❤️  Increase in the shortness of breath
  • ❤️  Frequent, dry hacking cough
  • ❤️  Trouble with doing activities of daily living
  • ❤️  Trouble sleeping; need to sleep in recliner or with many pillows to decrease the shortness of breath 
  • ❤️  Loss of appetite

Besides taking your prescribed medication it’s important to make crucial lifestyle changes. Listed below are a few:

  • ❤️  Maintain or lose weight
  • ❤️  Track your fluid intake
  • ❤️  Heart healthy diet 
  • ❤️  Exercise
  • ❤️  Manage stress
  • ❤️  Keep track of symptoms 
  • ❤️  Get adequate rest
  • ❤️  Monitor your blood pressure

More on exercise of course! Research shows that an exercise program that is supervised (like Keep The Beat Wellness) reduces hospitalizations and mortality plus improves quality of life and functioning. Recommendations are 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise at least 5 days a week. Resistance training should be 2-3 days per week.

Structured exercise programs seem to be better because of the engagement and adherence to the program by the individual. They are held accountable to the program.

Only about 10% of patients are recommended to a cardiac rehab program. 

Everyone benefits from exercise. Any movement is better than no movement. So, let’s get moving?  

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