Congestive heart failure strikes one in every 100 Americans and kills about 400,000 each year, according to the American Heart Association.

Symptoms of heart failure include difficulty in breathing, irregular heart beats, fluid retention, fatigue, nausea, irritability and shortened attention span.A recent study made in 35 medical centers in Finland, Norway and Sweden demonstrated that Vasotec, a drug prescribed for treating high blood pressure, reduced the death rate of patients with severe heart failure. Their overall mortality rate from the disease was cut by 40 percent after six months and 31 percent after a full year, the study showed.

- Cholesterol levels tend to peak in the winter and hit their lowest point in the summer, says the Nutri-System Health & Fitness Information Bureau.

Why? No one knows, since there seems to be no connection with seasonal diet and weight changes. Nevertheless, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, has found that blood cholesterol is highest around Dec. 30 and lowest around June 30.

- Sodium has been blamed for high blood pressure but its partner in the salt shaker - chloride - may be guilty also, according to the Reebok Aerobic Information Bureau.

A University of California at San Francisco pathologist found that sodium citrate (a preservative) produced no rise in blood pressure in hypersensitive men who had previously shown rises when given sodium chloride (table salt). The study showed that only sodium chloride causes blood volume to increase, making the heart pump out more blood. This increased cardiac output can raise blood pressure.