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What is Congestive Heart Failure
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The heart is an efficient organ when healthy. It carries oxygen around our entire body and to every cell with it's pumping action. When the pump weakens it can no longer deliver oxygen efficiently to our cells. The result is tiredness, shortness of breath, and sometimes a build up of fluid in the legs or lungs. Everyday activities such as walking, carrying groceries, or climbing stairs can become much more difficult. Heart failure is a serious condition, and there usually is no cure. However, with proper care, lifestyle changes, the right medications and close supervision it is possible to lead a full, enjoyable life. We can also concentrate on improving or reversing the risk factors for heart failure, therefore delaying or altogether preventing this disease. 

Statistics On Heart Failure 
  1. Heart failure is associated with aging. About 10% of people older than 65 have heart failure.
  2. There are 6.5 million hospital days a year due to heart failure in North America.
  3. Almost one third of hospitalized patients with heart failure have to be hospitalized again within 90 days.
  4. 20 - 25% of patients hospitalized with heart failure die within 180 days after leaving the hospital.
  5. Half a million new cases are diagnosed each year. 
Causes of Heart Failure
Coronary artery disease, heart attacks and hypertension still remain the most common causes of heart failure. Being overweight places an extra burden on the heart as well, as does smoking. These risk factors can all be addressed with important lifestyle changes, including exercise, proper diet and quitting smoking. 

There are a host of other causes that are not as common but can result in heart failure. They are varied, ranging from problems with the heart valves themselves, inflammation in the heart muscle, diabetes, a hyperactive thyroid gland, nutritional disorders, excessive alcohol consumption, and some forms of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis). This list is by no means complete, but certainly illustrates how varied the causes of heart failure are. 

Important Prevention Steps
  • Know your cholesterol numbers, and get them under control. High cholesterol leads to coronary artery disease and heart attacks. The end result can be heart failure
  • High blood pressure causes the heart to pump harder to achieve the vital oxygen delivery to our cells. Eventually, it causes the heart to dilate and the pump to fail. It can't be stressed enough that controlling the blood pressure is vital. Ideally the blood pressure should be 125/85 mm Hg or below.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking is linked to higher rates of heart disease and is considered a major risk factor.
  • A daily exercise program can often result in less tension, a feeling of more energy, and a feeling of less tiredness. It also helps control weight, improves circulation, blood pressure, and blood sugar. If you have heart failure, talk to your doctor about a reconditioning program and what exercises would be good for you.
  • Limit alcohol use. We know studies have shown a glass of wine a day is good for the heart. But in this case more is not better. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to heart failure.

Help From A Natural Supplement 
Clinical studies have shown that a standardized extract of the herb Hawthorn improved heart function in the following ways:
  1. Heart contractions improved
  2. It reduced the resistance in the vascular system - blood flows better when this happens. It is one of the goals of therapy in the treatment of heart failure.
  3. The ejection fraction improved (doctor talk for how efficient your heart is as a pump).
  4. Improved blood flow through the coronary arteries.

Another important nutritional supplement is coenzyme Q-10, which has been used in the treatment of heart failure, and has been shown to also improve heart function. Clinical studies have shown it improves the quality of life and decreases symptoms in people who have heart failure. However, studies have shown it to be effective only at a daily intake of 100 mg, a dose much higher than most over the counter supplements have. 

Cardio Essentials is one of Unicity's products listed in the Physicians's Desk Reference.
Cardio Essentials provides a standardized extract of Hawthorne, 100 mg of coenzyme Q-10, plus L carnitine and L-taurine, two additional substances important to heart health. If you or someone you love has heart failure it's a good natural supplement that can be added to the current therapeutic regimen. There have been no reports of toxicity with coenzyme Q-10, and studies with Hawthorn for 16 weeks did not show any toxicity either. For those with coronary heart disease, it could help prevent the further deterioration of that critical heart function. Talk to your doctor if you think you might benefit from this supplement.
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