Causes & risk factors

Understanding the causes and risk factors of heart failure is an important first step.

Understanding and pinpointing the exact causes of heart failure isn’t always straightforward. Sometimes, there can be several contributing factors that combine and lead to the condition1.

A recent study showed that the general public are largely unaware of the main causes of heart failure, with two out of three people not recognising diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease as the leading risk factors2.

Know the risks

There are number of different risk factors or medical conditions that can increase the risk of heart failure1,3.

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Coronary artery disease (the narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries)
  • Heart attack
  • Congenital heart defects (a problem with the structure of the heart present at birth)
  • Valvular heart disease (damage to or a defect in one of the four heart valves)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical exercise

But these are just a few possible causes and in some cases, the cause is never identified.

If any of these risk factors apply to you, or if you think someone you know may be at risk of heart failure, please access or share our risk checker tool to use during check-up. This can help outline and identify particular risks and contains many useful questions to ask during a doctor visit.

Understand the risks

References

  1. Mayo Clinic. Heart Failure. Available online at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/symptomscauses/ syc-20373142. Last accessed August 25 2020
  2. AstraZeneca PLP. Data on File. ID: REF – 74964. March 2020
  3. American Heart Association. Causes of heart failure. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-failure/causes-and-risks-forheart-failure/causes-of-heart-failure. Accessed 18 September 2020.
11 February 2021

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