Heart Failure

  • Medical Author:
    Erica Oberg, ND, MPH

    Dr. Erica Oberg, ND, MPH, received a BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado, her doctorate of naturopathic medicine (ND) from Bastyr University, and a masters of public health (MPH) in health services research from the University of Washington. She completed her residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in ambulatory primary care and fellowship training at the Health Promotion Research Center at the University of Washington.

  • Medical Author: Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, ABIHM
    Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, ABIHM

    Dr. Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, ABIHM, is board certified in cardiovascular disease, internal medicine, nuclear medicine, and holistic medicine. Dr. Guarneri is president of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine and serves as Senior Advisor to the Atlantic Health System for the Center for Well Being and Integrative Medicine. Dr. Guarneri is founder and director of Guarneri Integrative Health, Inc. and Taylor Academy for Integrative Medicine Education and Research located at Pacific Pearl La Jolla in La Jolla, CA.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Quick GuideHeart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack

Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack

What is the prognosis and life expectancy for a person with heart failure?

The course of heart failure is highly variable. People who address their risk factors and make lifestyle changes may never progress. However, if changes are not made, if medications are not taken, or if the underlying causes are not correctable, heart failure can become a progressive and eventually fatal condition. This means that the heart muscle will continue to get weaker and have more difficulty keeping up with the workload. Fortunately, many treatment options exist for heart failure.

Can heart failure be prevented?

  • The best way to prevent heart failure is to never have a heart attack, but if you do, there still are treatments. The Lyon Heart study demonstrated that a Mediterranean diet can prevent heart failure among people who have had a heart attack.
  • Following other healthy lifestyle recommendations such as not smoking, not abusing alcohol, eating a plant-based diet, eating a diet that is anti-oxidant rich, eating an anti-inflammatory diet such as a Mediterranean diet, and being physically active every day may also help prevent heart failure.
  • Treating early signs of heart failure and risk factors such as high blood pressure, being overweight or obese, and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) are also strategies to prevent congestive heart failure.
  •  Stress raises blood pressure, worsens diabetes, and causes coronary artery disease. Learning stress resiliency techniques such as Transcendental Meditation, Yoga, or meditation can reduce the risk of many types of cardiovascular disease by 48%.


American Heart Association. "Warning Signs of Heart Failure." Updated: Aug 10, 2016.

Annette (Gbemudu) Ogbru, PharmD, MBA. "Beta Blockers." RxList. Updated: Apr 25, 2016.

Annette (Gbemudu) Ogbru, PharmD, MBA. "Diuretics." Updated: Apr 25, 2016.

Brook RD, et al. "Beyond medications and diet: alternative approaches to lowering blood pressure: a scientific statement from the american heart association." Hypertension. 2013 Jun;61(6):1360-83.

de Lorgeril, M., et al. "Mediterranean Diet, Traditional Risk Factors, and the Rate of Cardiovascular Complications After Myocardial Infarction." Circulation. 1999;99:779-785

DeVries, S., Dalen, J. "Integrative Cardiology." 1st edition. 2010 Oxford University Press.

heartfailurematters.org. "HOW HEART FAILURE IS GRADED." 2016.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) Information." Updated: Jul 09, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/22/2016

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