Signs to watch for to stop heart failure

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Heart failure affects nearly 5.7 million Americans, and it's a problem that's on the rise. (WLS)

Heart failure affects nearly 5.7 million Americans, and it's a problem that's on the rise. The number of deaths from this condition has more than doubled since 1979.

It beats 100,000 times a day, pumping 1.5 gallons of blood every minute! But when heart failure strikes, your heart stops doing its job.

"As a consequence, there's often a build-up of excess fluid into the lungs, into the stomach, into the legs," said Dr. Sitarmesh Emani, a cardiologist at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center.

Symptoms to watch out for include shortness of breath, coughing, fatigue, swelling in the body, confusion, and a lack of appetite.

"The most common cause in the United States for congestive heart failure is a history of coronary artery disease, or commonly known as heart disease, blockages," said Dr. Emani.

To lower your risk, stop smoking. After just one year of quitting, your risk of heart disease is reduced by 80 percent! Also, exercise at least two and a half hours a week. Eat heart healthy foods such as veggies, fruits, and lean meats. Limit alcohol to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. And, keep other conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure under control. Heart failure can be serious, but with the right care, you can usually live a long and full life.

Treatments for heart failure typically include medicines called diuretics, or "water pills," to remove excess fluid and other drugs to strengthen the heart. Some patients might require devices to help their heart pump better. If the situation is severe, a person might need a heart transplant.

If you would like more information, check out the medical breakthroughs on the web at

Related Topics:
healthheart diseaseheart attack

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