Heart failure is a serious condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While it can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics and pre-existing conditions, lifestyle choices also play a significant role in the development and management of heart failure.
Making positive lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of heart failure and improve outcomes for those who are already living with the condition. That’s what we are going to discuss in the below paragraphs. Read on as we list the top 8 lifestyle changes that will help you prevent and treat heart failure.
1. Maintain or Lose Weight
Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, all of which are major risk factors for heart failure. Therefore, losing can help you improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart failure.
Even losing a small amount of weight, such as 5-10% of your total body weight, can have a significant impact on your heart health. To achieve this, you will have to focus on your daily diet and your exercise routine.
2. Opt for a Healthy Diet and Stay Active
Opting for a healthy diet and staying physically active are two lifestyle changes that can significantly reduce the risk of heart failure. A healthy and well-balanced diet is one that is low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium, and high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
The Mediterranean diet, for example, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and heart failure. This diet emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish, and limits red meat, processed foods, and sugar.
By eating a healthy diet, you can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other risk factors for heart disease and heart failure. Moreover, staying active is also recommended if you want to improve heart function, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart failure.
Aim for at least 20 to 30 minutes of light or moderate-intensity exercise per week. This can include morning or evening walks or cycling. You can also incorporate strength training exercises to build muscle and improve overall fitness.
3. Quit Smoking
We listen to and read it everywhere. Yet some people don’t consider cigarette smoking as offensive as it should be. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage the lining of the blood vessels, increase blood pressure, and decrease oxygen delivery to the heart.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important lifestyle changes you can make to prevent heart failure. Yes, it can be challenging, but there are many resources available to help you quit.
Your healthcare provider can provide guidance and support, and there are many medications and nicotine replacement therapies that can help ease withdrawal symptoms and increase your chances of quitting successfully.
4. Manage Your Stress Levels
While most people take stress as a negative emotion, it isn’t always the case. It is a natural part of life but when it becomes chronic, it can have negative effects on our health, including increasing the risk of heart disease and heart failure.
Managing stress is an important lifestyle change you can make to prevent heart failure. To achieve this, there are many different strategies you can use. Exercise is one effective way to reduce stress levels. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters and can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Additionally, engaging in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
5. Monitor and Control Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure can rise and fall multiple times during the day, so it’s best to monitor and control it to determine when you need medication and healthcare support. In addition to monitoring your blood pressure, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to help control it.
One of the most effective is to adopt a healthy diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and low in saturated and trans fats, can help lower blood pressure. Additionally, reducing salt intake can have a significant impact on blood pressure levels.
However, if lifestyle changes alone are not sufficient to control your blood pressure, medications may be necessary. Your healthcare provider can work with you to determine the best medication options for your individual needs.
6. Control Your Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar, or diabetes, is a major risk factor for heart disease and heart failure. To control your blood sugar levels, it’s important to adopt a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, and low in sugar and processed foods, can help regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, keeping yourself busy with regular exercise can help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels.
Your healthcare provider can also work with you to determine how often you should check your blood sugar levels and what your target range should be.
7. Manage Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is the biggest factor contributing to congestive heart failure. High levels of LDL cholesterol are known as “bad” cholesterol, which can then lead to the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which can increase your risk of heart disease and heart failure.
To manage your cholesterol levels, it’s important to adopt a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity. A diet that is low in saturated fats and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
These approaches can also help improve cholesterol levels by increasing HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is an important lifestyle change you can make to prevent heart failure. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a range of health problems, including high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, which are all risk factors for heart disease and heart failure.
That’s why it is recommended to get enough sleep every night to minimize your risk of heart failure. If you are feeling difficulty falling asleep, speak to your doctor and look for any medications or therapies that can help you.