Harvard Men's Health Watch

Heart failure prevention essentials: Take these steps

Exercise, healthy eating, and appropriate treatment will protect the heart's pumping power.

Heart failure doesn't mean your heart stops working; it means the heart has lost some of its strength and can no longer deliver enough oxygen-enriched blood to meet all of the body's demands during physical activity. Heart failure risk grows with age, and more than 650,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the condition this year.

Many cases of heart failure stem from preventable diseases of the heart and blood vessels, so the most powerful way to prevent it is to stay physically active, eat a healthy diet, stay slim, don't smoke, and drink alcohol only in moderation. These steps help to prevent heart disease in the first place. And for anyone who does develop heart problems or high blood pressure, the same steps plus appropriate medications can help prevent heart disease from progressing to heart failure.

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