Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Is heart failure reversible by diet and lifestyle changes?

Once heart failure has developed, can diet and exercise measures work to reverse it?


Well-designed clinical trials are needed to answer this question.

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

There is no known therapy that can reverse heart failure. Drug and device treatments may slow progress but not a cure. If diet and lifestyle changes could reverse heart failure, even if just in segments of the heart failure population, it would be a tremendous impact in saving lives and would have a great fiscal impact as well.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Innovative dietary and lifestyle intervention studies could be done cheaply and efficiently.
There is low impact, mostly anecdotal evidence that heart failure (HF) is reversible through diet and exercise, but no higher level research has investigated this question. It is an accepted notion that healthy diet and exercise can prevent cardiovascular diseases. Obesity, diabetes and coronary artery disease are strong risk factors for HF. Accordingly, a high portion of HF patients has ischemic etiology, is obese and/or diabetic. Diet and lifestyle interventions could beneficially influence these comorbidities and might reverse HF.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea NHLBI Staff

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6 net votes
34 up votes
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Idea No. 307