When your heart becomes weak or damaged and is no longer able to pump as much blood as it should, you are at risk for congestive heart failure. Heart failure does not mean your heart is going to stop functioning.
What it means is that your heart is not pumping enough to meet the oxygen demands of the body. When this happens, you will begin to experience some symptoms of this condition. This is a problem experienced by about 5 million Americans today and is also considered to be the leading cause of death in the nation
Heart failure can affect people of all ages, from young children to the elderly. The disease is seen in men and women equally. African Americans, however, are 1.5 times more likely to experience heart failure than Caucasians.
Those most at risk are people who have an underlying condition that weakens or damages the heart in some way, leading to heart failure. There are a number of conditions that increase your risk including:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Damaged heart valves
- Damaged heart muscle
- Heart defects present at birth
- Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms)
- Thyroid disease
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
However, it is believed that as we age, we are all potentially at risk. 1 in 5 Americans will develop congestive heart failure in their lifetime, especially those above the age of 40. That’s why it is important to embrace and commit to healthy lifestyle habits early on in order to prevent and reduce your chances of developing this life-threatening condition.
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