Heart Failure


Heart failure often has more than one cause. The causes include:

  • Long standing high blood pressure
  • One or more heart attacks in the past
  • History of coronary artery disease (a narrowing or blockage of arteries supplying blood to the heart, usually caused by buildup of cholesterol and other materials on the walls of the arteries). 
  • Heart valve problems, which can weaken the heart over time. (Heart valves act as doors and keep the blood flowing through the heart in the right direction.)
    • Stenosis (narrowing) of the heart valves can prevent flowing from one chamber to another or out of the chamber into main circulation. This leads to a backup of blood in the chamber.
    • Regurgitation is a term used to describe leaky heart valves. This means some of the blood leaving a chamber may flow back. This causes build-up of too much blood and makes it harder for the heart to pump the extra blood.
  • Arrhythmias (abnormal heart beats). When the heartbeat is irregular (too fast or too slow) it affects the hearts ability to pump enough blood throughout the body.  
  • Myocarditis is inflammation (body’s response to injury) of the heart muscle. Myocarditis can be due to an infection and can cause heart failure. 
  • Sleep apnea occurs when parts of the throat block a person’s airway. This often happens when sleeping at night, and cause pauses in breathing. Sleep apnea is a risk factor for heart failure and related health condition. Loud snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea and should be discussed with your healthcare provider. 

Heart Failure’s Impact on Other Health Conditions

Heart failure can cause some health conditions and make others worse.


Last Updated February 2023

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