Heart failure is a general term describing a syndrome in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Heart failure can develop rapidly or gradually, and is most commonly caused by coronary artery disease, which occurs when fatty plaque deposits build up in the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle.1 Other factors that can contribute to heart failure include structural heart muscle defects, cardiac valve disease, lung disease, coronary artery disease due to atherosclerosis, thyroid disease, and anemia.2-7
About 5.7 million adults in the United States have heart failure, and approximately 550,000 cases are diagnosed in the United States each year.8 Standard treatment options for heart failure focus on limiting symptoms and attempting to reduce progression and mortality. Despite medical advances, heart failure continues to reduce quality of life for those it affects, and the mortality rate due to heart failure remains high.9,10 However, several novel and integrative strategies appear promising.
For instance, an important insight in heart failure research came in 2014 with the publication of results of the Q-SYMBIO coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) trial. This groundbreaking two-year study showed that CoQ10 supplementation significantly reduced the risk of a major cardiovascular event compared with placebo in subjects with moderate-to-severe heart failure.11 CoQ10 supplementation is especially important for individuals taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs because statins block the biosynthesis of both cholesterol and CoQ10.12-16
A comprehensive strategy for minimizing risk and improving heart failure outcomes should also address its underlying causes. Therefore, readers are encouraged to review additional Life Extension protocols on atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, cholesterol management, weight loss, diabetes, kidney disease, and thyroid regulation.
This protocol will review the causes of and risk factors for heart failure, along with current standards of care and a number of emerging treatment strategies. Dietary and lifestyle strategies that can support overall cardiovascular health will be reviewed as well, as will a variety of natural, integrative interventions shown in studies to support heart health.