Congestive heart failure affects about 6 million Americans. It doesn’t mean your heart is totally out of order; it just means it is damaged and cannot pump as well as a normal heart. Blood flow to the rest of the body is too slow, resulting in many subtle long-term problems. The muscles in the heart that still work have to overcompensate, resulting in further problems with their functioning and possible weakening. The kidneys cause the body to retain water and as a result the patient has a buildup of fluid in the legs, feet, and elsewhere.
Congestive heart failure is caused by coronary heart disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that force the heart to work extra hard for a long period – e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure.
Cholesterol plaques don’t start accumulating on your blood vessels when you get old or reach some middle-age mark. They build up over adult life.
Your diet might have a little to do with the cholesterol level in your blood, but only a little. There is cholesterol in the food we eat and some foods have more cholesterol than others. More generally, fat in the diet tends to make cholesterol levels increase. Cholesterol is a type of fat, of course, but dietary fat is mostly triglyerides. However, most of the cholesterol in your body is produced in your body. Even if you adopted a vegan low-fat diet you would still have cholesterol.
There are many causes - or as epidemiologists would say - “risk factors” for these diseases. Cholesterol is only one of the causes. Other causes include smoking, insufficient physical activity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and drug abuse.