Heart failure can be prevented by decreasing the likelihood of initial cardiac injury, decreasing the risk of further injury, and by delaying the progression of early left ventricular dysfunction.
Management of ischemic heart disease
Ischemic heart disease is the commonest cause of congestive heart failure in the United States and several European countries. It confers a significantly worse prognosis in patients with left ventricular dysfunction. Its prevention should therefore decrease the prevalence of heart failure.
Stopping smoking is the most effective intervention for reducing the risk of a first or subsequent coronary event. Exercise lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and helps weight loss. Obesity contributes substantially to the coronary heart disease burden. Weight loss has evident benefits in terms of lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Moderate alcohol consumption is also helpful. The benefits of an increased polyunsaturated fat intake, and decreased saturated fats, are well documented, together with a diet of olive oil, fish, fruit, and vegetables. Hormone replacement therapy may be useful in women with no family history of breast cancer.
Should we aim to prevent heart failure by screening for asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction? Photo Gallery
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