Congestive Heart Failure: Living the Heart-Healthy Lifestyle


Rohinton J. Morris, MD
Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Abington Health

Donald C. Haas, MD
Medical Director of the Ventricular Assist Device Program at Abington Health

Of all the major cardiovascular disorders, heart failure remains the only one on the rise. The Heart Failure Society of America estimates there will be between 400,000 and 700,000 new cases diagnosed each year. But there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and keep your ticker in shape, even once you have been diagnosed with heart failure. You can learn more during Abington Health’s live web chat, “The Newest Treatment Options for Congestive Heart Failure,” on February 20 at noon.

Heart failure is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time. But simple lifestyle changes can slow that progression and ease symptoms. Here are some of the healthy habits you can adopt to reduce your risk:

  • Quit smoking. Nicotine causes temporary spikes in blood pressure and heart rate and limits the amount of oxygen-rich blood flowing through the body. Quitting or even cutting back can improve heart failure symptoms.
  • Keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check. It’s harder to pump blood through constricted vessels or clogged arteries, so knowing your numbers and keeping them low will reduce the stress on your heart.
  • Get some exercise. Research has shown that beginning an exercise program under a doctor’s supervision can help strengthen the heart and reduce fatigue in congestive heart failure patients.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Limiting the amounts of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar in your diet can have a huge impact on heart health. Patients in Abington Health’s Comprehensive Heart Failure program have access to a staff nutritionist who can help them plan healthy meals and make heart smart choices.

Learn more about congestive heart failure at the next live Health Chat with Abington Health on Thursday, February 20th at 12 pm: The Newest Treatment Options for Congestive Heart Failure. Sign up now.