Most of us are aware of the dangers of cardiovascular disease and familiar with at least a few of its varieties: coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and heart attack among them. A heart-healthy lifestyle, including good nutrition and exercise, has long been promoted as the best preventive medicine, and mortality rates due to cardiovascular disease have gone down in the U.S. over the past several decades.
Still, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), about 60 million Americans currently suffer one cardiovascular condition or another, and almost one million deaths in the U.S. are attributed to cardiovascular disease each year. With explosive increases in obesity and type II diabetes, and with the baby-boomer generation growing older, the problem of cardiovascular disease shows no signs of going away.
Heart failure, a somewhat lesser-known cardiovascular condition, has emerged as a significant public health threat in recent years. While overall mortality due to cardiovascular disease decreased between 1979 and 2000, the AHA reports that mortality due to heart failure increased 148 percent during the same period.
Patients diagnosed with heart failure can do much to treat it and live well in spite of it. Of course, those fare best who recognize the condition and address it early. Routine physical exams allow doctors to spot the warning signs, such as high blood pressure. But individuals can also educate themselves about the risk factors, the symptoms, and ultimately, the treatment of the disease.
Jarvik Heart develops and manufactures medical devices to support and rehabilitate patients with severe heart failure. The Jarvik Heart Web site is intended as a resource for current information about heart failure and the treatment options available for it.