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What causes heart failure?

2-minute read

Often there is not one single cause of heart failure, but there are a number of conditions that increase your risk. These include:

Some things in your lifestyle can put you at greater risk of developing heart failure. Making lifestyle changes or taking medicines can reduce many of the risk factors for developing coronary heart disease or having a heart attack, both of which can lead to heart failure.

In particular, high blood pressure and smoking are risks for heart health and tackling these could help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

You can also talk to your doctor about managing diabetes or sleep apnoea properly, and whether the medicines you are taking put you at risk of heart failure.

There are simple things you can do to protect your heart. Eat a healthy diet to reduce your cholesterol level and keep to a healthy weight. Keep physically active, cut down on the salt in your diet and don't drink more than 2 standard drinks of alcohol a day. It's also important to watch your mental health and keep stress levels down.

Last reviewed: July 2018

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Heart failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle has become too weak to pump blood through the body as effectively as normal

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Heart failure is when your heart can't effectively pump blood around your body, but it doesn’t mean your heart is about to stop or fail completely - you can live with heart failure.

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Heart failure (heart disease) information | myVMC

Heart failure refers to inadequate blood circulation resulting from a defect which reduces the heart's pumping. It is typically caused by heart disease.

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Chronic heart failure occurs when the heart fails to pump sufficient blood through the body. It may come on rapidly after a heart attack, or slowly.

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Congestive heart failure is present when the heart cannot pump enough blood to satisfy the needs of the body.

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Congestive heart failure (CHF) or cardiac failure (CCF) occurs when the heart can no longer pump blood quickly enough.

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Congestive heart failure is a heart disease or cardiovascular disease characterised by the heart being unable to pump enough blood around the body.

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Relaxin is a reproductive peptide hormone that relaxes tissues, including the heart. Relaxin levels increase in heart failure.

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Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are medications used to treat heart and kidney conditions like hypertension, heart failure and heart attack.

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