What causes heart failure?


Quick Answer

Heart failure is generally caused by conditions that weaken or damage the heart, explains Mayo Clinic. Some conditions, such as coronary artery disease and high blood pressure, can be present in an individual without any symptoms until the heart is already weakened or damaged and heart failure has begun.

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What causes heart failure?
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Full Answer

The most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease. This type of disease is characterized by atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries that slows down the supply of blood to the heart muscle. Parts of the heart that are deprived of oxygen-rich blood on a regular basis can begin to weaken, and a heart attack can occur. Sometimes the heart is only receiving enough oxygen-rich blood to avoid heart muscle death, and functioning is impaired, according to Mayo Clinic.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, also brings on heart failure because it makes the heart pump harder than normal to do its job. Left unchecked, high blood pressure can cause the heart muscle to thicken due to its extra workload. This stiffness can cause the heart to pump ineffectively, states Mayo Clinic.

Coronary artery disease, heart defects and damage from a heart attack can cause faulty heart valves, and in turn, heart failure. The extra work that a defective valve must do in order to ensure blood flow can make the heart weak over time. If caught in time, however, a faulty valve can be replaced surgically, advises Mayo Clinic.

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