According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 5.7 million adults in the United States have heart failure. Dr. Richard Schuster, from the Schuster Family Medicine and Osteopathic Care, explains in detail what characterizes this medical condition and how to prevent it:


What Is Heart Failure?


The term “heart failure” is commonly used by patients and doctors, but a lot of people don’t know exactly what it is. According to Dr. Richard Schuster, it’s a common misconception to think that heart failure necessarily means that your heart is failing. “It means that whatever is going on in your body is backing up against your heart”, he explains.

Heart failure is not a disease by itself, but a symptom. To make it easier to understand, imagine that your heart is a pump. “Heart failure means that something about that mechanism is not working the way that it’s supposed to”, Dr. Richard Schuster says.

He points out that there are many kinds of heart failure. The most common is when your heart is weak and dilated in a way that it doesn’t function properly. However, there are other types of heart failure, like diastolic heart failure (the heart can’t fill and squeeze properly) and high-output heart failure (associated with thyroid problems and anemias).   


How to Prevent Heart Failure


High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and smoking are all heart failure risk factors. “These are the things we have to prevent when we talk about heart failure”, says Dr. Richard Schuster. He warns that smoking is one of the biggest heart failure risk factors: “It makes everything in your body worse”.

The doctor highlights that adopting a healthy lifestyle is vital for preventing heart failure. Doing exercise, eating well, and not drinking too much can avoid long-term complications that may lead to heart failure.


The Importance of a Healthy Diet


How healthy is your diet? If you’re constantly eating food that is poor in nutrients, you’re increasing your risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. According to Dr. Richard Schuster, all these health conditions are associated with heart failure.

“It’s easier to prevent these health issues than to treat them. Even if you’re overweight, you can never have heart failure if you maintain a good diet. If you have diabetes, you can still control your sugar consumption”, explains the doctor.


Seeking Medical Help


Whether you want to prevent or control heart failure, you should find an experienced doctor to guide you along the way. It’s important to note, though, that no matter how severe your heart failure might be, there’s always something you can do to improve your overall health. If you’re interested in booking a 30-minute appointment with Dr. Schuster, contact him online or by calling (317) 434-1750, and he’ll be glad to help you!

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