Congestive Heart Failure

Heart failure is a global term for the physiological state in which cardiac output is insufficient in meeting the needs of the body and lungs. Often termed "Congestive Heart Failure" or CHF, this is most commonly caused when cardiac output is low and the body becomes congested with fluid.

CHF Causes:
* Ischaemic heart disease 62%
* Cigarette smoking 16%
* Hypertension (high blood pressure)10%
* Obesity 8%
* Diabetes 3%
* Valvular heart disease 2% (much higher in older populations)

Rarer causes of heart failure include:
* Viral myocarditis (an infection of the heart muscle)
* Infiltrations of the muscle such as amyloidosis
* HIV cardiomyopathy (caused by human immunodeficiency virus)
* Connective tissue diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus
* Abuse of drugs such as alcohol and cocaine
* Pharmaceutical drugs such as chemotherapeutic agents
* Arrhythmias

As with so many other conditions, the best way to prevent Congestive Heart Failure is to control the risk factors that are associated with the disease. These include but are not limited to: High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and obesity.

Ensure your diet includes good sources of lean protein, fresh vegetables and plenty of whole grains. Healthy individuals should strive to get a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week. If you smoke, aim to set a quit date and stick to it. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things that you can do for your health and the health of those around you.

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