Understand Your Risk for Heart Failure

Updated:Jun 1,2015

Understand what causes heart failure

All of us lose some blood-pumping ability in our hearts as we age, but heart failure results from the added stress of health conditions that either damage the heart or make it work too hard. All of the lifestyle factors that increase your risk of heart attack and stroke – smoking, being overweight, eating foods high in fat and cholesterol and physical inactivity – can also contribute to heart failure. Learn more about what you can do to reduce your risk for heart failure by making lifestyle changes that last.

Conditions that may lead to heart failure

If you have heart failure, chances are you have (or had) one or more of the conditions listed below (View an animation of heart failure). Some of these can be present without you knowing it. Typically these conditions cause the "wear and tear" that leads to heart failure. Having more than one of these factors dramatically increases your risk.

Conditions that may lead to heart failure

When cholesterol and fatty deposits build up in the heart's arteries, less blood can reach the heart muscle. This build-up is known as atherosclerosis. The result may be chest pain (angina) or, if blood flow becomes totally obstructed, a heart attack. Coronary artery disease can also contribute to having high blood pressure which, over time, may lead to heart failure.

Learn more about atherosclerosis.
Learn more about coronary artery disease.

Heart Failure in Children and Adolescents

Heart Failure Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Questions to ask your doctor

Use these questions to ask your doctor about heart failure.

This content was last reviewed on 04/06/2015.

Heart Failure

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