A lot of people want to know exactly what caused heart failure. However, more often than not, there are multiple issues at play that actually caused the problem in the first place. There are various conditions that increase the likelihood of developing it, and many of these are things that you can work on in order to avoid it. Indeed, heart failure prevention is most often the more important course of action.
Factors Involved in Developing Heart Failure
A number of factors are known to significantly increase the chances of heart failure symptoms. These include:
• Hypertension (high blood pressure), which strains your heart.
• CHD (coronary heart disease), which is when the heart’s arteries become clogged up, leading to heart attacks and angina.
• Cardiomyopathy (weakness of the muscles of the heart). This is an unclear condition believed to be genetic, although it can also be brought on by viral infections, cancer medication and alcohol abuse.
• Atrial fibrillation (heart rhythm disturbance).
• Lack of red blood cells (anemia).
• Overactive thyroids.
However, there are a number of other problems that can often lead to heart failure, and these are less avoidable or treatable than those listed above. Let’s review each of these heart failure causes in greater detail.
Arrhythmias (Abnormalities in the Rhythm of the Heart)
With some people, the heat beats too fast. When this happens, it is unable to fill and empty as it should, leading to a weakening of the muscles. It is also possible that the heart beats too slowly (when it is at less than 40 beats per minute), which leads to the heart’s output to be reduced. This can cause heart failure, although many people with slow heartbeats are actually perfectly fit and healthy.
The most common irregularity is atrial fibrillation. In these cases, the chances of developing thrombosis (blood clots) is greatly increased, as is your chance of developing a stroke. If these people also have a fast heart rate, then the chance of developing heart failure is also increased.
Damage to the Valves of the Heart
Our heart is made up four valves, each with a one-way stream. If one of these valves leaks, then the heart has to work extra heart, being stretched to exertion. If the valve is too narrow, then the amount of blood pumped to and from your heart is reduced and the organ is placed under stress. This condition can be congenital, or caused by heart attacks or simple wear and tear. It is possible, sometimes, to repair damaged valves, although some require replacements. This is done through open heart surgery, which is incredibly invasive and dangerous.
Myocarditis is caused when the heart muscles become inflamed. Usually, a viral infection is the cause, and it is not unheard of for it to lead to heart failure. The problem is that this is a rarely recognized condition, meaning that it is often too late by the time heart failure signs are identified.
Other Potential Conditions
One congenital problem is the so called “hole in the heart” syndrome. Here, the connection between the two sides of the heart is abnormal, meaning that blood can flow from one side to the other. Most often, this is a left to right flow. Because of this, the right side is stressed, leading to heart failure.
A hole in the heart is often detected at birth, but if it is missed, it will generally not be recognized until adulthood. Various devices can be used, including a heart catheter, to solve this issue. Sometimes, however, surgery is necessary.