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What are the Causes of Heart Failure

Causes of heart failure can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Heart disease you are born with
  • Toxicity from chemotherapy or substance abuse
  • Hypothyroid
  • Valve disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Having had a heart attack

Other facts that may affect the heart include smoking, hyperlipidemia (too many lipids – or fats – in the blood), diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, stress management, and obesity.

 

Symptoms

The first step in treating heart failure is to know the symptoms so they can be treated quickly.  Common symptoms include:

  • Having trouble thinking or being sleepy
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling weak
  • Unable to walk or do activity like you use to do
  • Being short of breath
  • Cough
  • Unable to lay flat (sleeping in the chair)
  • Having chest pain or tightness
  • Feeling your heart beat fast
  • Rapid weight gain – 2-3 lbs. in 1 to 2 days
  • Having abdominal swelling or feeling sick to your stomach
  • Ankle swelling

 

If you have heart failure and experience any of the above problems, call your doctor.  Waiting makes it harder to stop the problem and could lead to a hospital stay. A doctor needs to decide if symptoms can be treated at home, in the clinic office, or in the hospital.  No one likes to go to the hospital, but waiting often will make symptoms harder to treat.