Back to basics: 7 ways you can help prevent heart failure

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart failure affects approximately 5.7 million American adults and can have devastating – and even fatal – consequences.

Heart failure is a challenging condition when the heart can’t pump enough blood to other areas of the body.

“Heart failure can significantly impact one’s quality of life, including an individual’s ability to perform physical or social functions,” says Dr. Robert Martin, a family medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “While this condition can be managed with the help of a clinical team, I encourage my patients to take a proactive approach to prevent future heart problems.”

Here are seven tips to prevent heart failure, according to the American Heart Association:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight and stay in a healthy body mass index range.
  2. Make sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
  3. Minimize alcohol and caffeine intake.
  4. Eat a well-rounded diet with a focus on fruits and vegetables. Avoid salty foods.
  5. Exercise at least 30 minutes per day to strengthen your heart.
  6. Be aware of your stress levels and find an outlet like yoga or meditation to manage them.
  7. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

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