Some causes of congestive heart failure are inherited, while others are not, according to Mayo Clinic. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and dilated cardiomyopathy are two diseases that can lead to heart failure, in which inheritance plays a role.
The most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease, in which fatty deposits attach to the inner wall of the arteries supplying the heart and cause a decrease in its blood supply. This can eventually lead to a heart attack, permanent heart damage and heart failure, explains Mayo Clinic.
Risk factors for congestive heart failure include high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, infections, systemic lupus erythematosus, amyloidosis, sarcoidosis and a family history of heart disease, according to MedicineNet.coms.
The hallmark symptom of congestive heart failure is shortness of breath, which may occur at rest, with exertion or while lying flat. This can be caused by fluid buildup in the lungs, or from the inability of the heart to supply enough blood to the body during exertion and stress, notes MedicineNet.com.
Other symptoms include chest pain, fatigue and leg swelling. Pressure in capillary blood vessels results in water leaking between cells and accumulating in the feet, ankles and lower legs, states MedicineNet.com.