Are you at risk of heart failure and developing end stage symptoms? What can you to reduce the risk?

There are over 6,500,000 million adults living with heart failure, according to the American Heart Association, and 10-percent will have end stage symptoms.

Heart Failure means your heart muscles isn't pumping blood the way it's supposed to be doing.

Heart Failure Cardiologist and Medical Director of the Advanced Heart Failure Program at Jersey Shore University Medical Center Dr. Jesus Almendral explains that there are multiple causes of heart failure including those with a family history of heart disease or those who've suffered a heart attack themselves.

"There's a lot of different causes of heart failure and one of them is what's called familiar arterial myopothy where it's genetics and there's maybe one or more family members who also have heart failure. It's something in the genes that gets passed down," Almendral said. "There's other causes (of heart failure), if people have had a previous heart attack their heart could be weak because of scar tissue and because of bad muscle in their heart. Other uncommon causes of heart failure are viruses or from excessive alcohol or drug intake."

There are many possible causes but also symptoms to look out for before your diagnosed.

"The typical symptoms are shortness of breath, shortness of breath with exertion, swelling in the legs, some dizziness and difficulty laying down at night," Almendral said.

He says many patients prop up their pillows to sleep better at night due to difficulties they're having with breathing.

With heart failure becoming an increasing concern for Americans, it's important to know that you can live a somewhat normal life with it if you properly take care of yourself.

Almendral urges you to live a healthy lifestyle and consume things in moderation.

"Aside from taking the proper medications and having good followup visits with your doctor, people should avoid salt, if they smoke they need to stop, if they drink a lot of alcohol than they need to cut down or stop completely," Almendral said.

He also stresses the importance of limiting your fluid intake to no more than two liters of fluid or two grams of sodium per day.

One of the more fearful types of heart failure is what's known as Congestive Heart Failure.

"When you say Congestive Heart Failure, that means there's excess volume in the body and a lot of times that's what causes the swelling the legs and shortness of breath when people walk," Almendral said. "The body will sometimes fill up with fluid and that's because the heart is so weak it can't pump the blood forward and that's when they get a lot of the swelling in their legs or some bloating in the stomach and fluid in their lungs and they're having trouble breathing."

He says blood tests and an echo-cardiogram are prescribed by a doctor to determine if you have heart failure.

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