Ask the doctor
Heart failure is a major health problem that comes with the aging of America. Today, many more people are surviving heart attacks and other heart diseases. Enduring these heart conditions allows them many more years of quality life, but can eventually lead to the development of heart failure.
In recent years, more effective medications have been developed that improve the outlook of heart failure. Medications are the mainstay of therapy with congestive heart failure.
- New and sophisticated treatments are allowing people to live longer. These results are proven by clinical trials in which patients volunteer to take new therapies under strict ethical and scientific monitoring.
- Pacemakers and implantable defibrillators have improved and now offer the ability to control rare, but life-threatening, disturbances of heart rhythm in some people.
- Some people may even benefit from sophisticated treatments such as heart transplants and newer forms of temporary mechanical hearts and LVADs.
Based on a clinical study, it was determined that one in every five people will develop heart failure in his or her lifetime. Some of the most common risk factors for heart failure include:
- Physical inactivity
- Metabolic syndrome
- Family history of heart failure
- Enlargement of the left ventricle
- Some types of valvular heart disease, including infection
- Coronary artery disease
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Prior heart attack
- Certain exposures, such as to radiation and some types of chemotherapy
- Infection of the heart muscle (usually viral)
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