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Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, you can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease through living a healthy  lifestyle. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get active and eat healthy.

CHF (Congestive Heart Failure)

Congestive Heart Failure occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Because the heart is not pumping blood properly, excess fluid can accumulate. Fluid can accumulate in the lungs and result in pulmonary edema or shortness of breath. Sometimes patients will experience swelling of the feet and ankles, or in the abdomen.


Congestive Heart Failure can be caused by a number of conditions that damage the heart muscle, including heart attacks, or heart infections, coronary artery disease, untreated hypertension, excessive alcohol intake, smoking or recreational drug use. Heart failure can also be caused by damage to, or abnormalities in the heart valves or an irregular heartbeat. Major risk factors include smoking, high cholesterol levels, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Many of these risk factors can be controlled through lifestyle changes or medications.
CAD (Coronary artery disease)

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the narrowing of coronary arteries. These are the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. The condition is also called coronary heart disease (CHD). 

CAD is the most common chronic, life-threatening illness in most of the world’s developed nations.


CAD is usually caused by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of plaque inside the coronary arteries. These plaques are made up of fatty deposits and fibrous tissue. Atherosclerosis can significantly narrow the coronary arteries. This decreases the blood supply to the heart muscle. It triggers a type of chest pain called angina. Atherosclerosis also can cause a blood clot to form inside a narrowed coronary artery. This causes a heart attack. A heart attack can significantly damage the heart muscle.


Risk Factors


High blood cholesterol level

High level of LDL (bad) cholesterol

Low level of HDL (good) cholesterol

High blood pressure (hypertension)


Family history of CAD at a younger age

Cigarette smoking


Physical inactivity

High levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation

Copyright ARFP 2014