Heart failure and the ways to recognize, treat and prevent it


Rock Red Month is ending, but heart failure is still a problem

SUNBURY — Rock Red for Healthy Hearts Month may be coming to an end but the pervasive problem of Heart Disease and ultimately heart failure is not.


Dr John Pfeifer, Interventional Cardiologist at the Heart and Vascular Center at Evangelical Community Hospital told WKOK recently what exactly heart failure is, “It can be sort of surprisingly tricky to pin down a good definition of what heart failure is. What I tell patients is that heart failure happens when there’s some problem with the heart such that it cannot meet the needs of the body.”


Getting a diagnosis of heart failure sounds devastating but Dr. Pfeifer says, it’s not a death sentence, “I always tell patients that we have lots of good treatments, and people with heart failure today can live normal lives. It can progress and become very serious, but laying some of that fear early on is very important.”


Dr Pfeifer tells us what the leading cause for heart failure is still Ischemic Heart Disease, “Ischemic Heart Disease happens when there’s blockages in the coronary arteries which leads to heart attacks. When a heart attack happens, it depends on the treatment for the heart attack but there can be permanent or long lasting damage to the heart.”


Dr. Pfeifer says there a many modifiable risk factors that can be prevented, “Smoking is probably the biggest modifiable risk factor and although Americans smoke a lot less than 40 or 50 years ago, it’s still an ongoing and pretty big problem. Other factors, hypertension, we have a lot of good treatments for blood pressure these days, and cholesterol.”


Dr. Pfeifer says genetic risk factors and family history are not yet preventable.


You can hear the entire conversation about Heart Failure with Dr. John Pfeifer at the WKOK Sunrise podcast page at WKOK.com.


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