Heart Failure Risk Factors

The more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing heart failure. The main risk factors for heart failure are:

  • Coronary artery disease (blockage of arteries) and past heart attacks, which may weaken the heart muscle, are the most common causes.
  • High blood pressure. Good blood pressure control can prevent heart failure.
  • Valvular heart disease (bad valves). Leaky or tight heart valves may lead to heart weakening.
  • Heart rhythm disorders, such as atrial fibrillation.
  • Drugs such as chemotherapy medicines, alcohol or illegal drugs may cause heart failure. All patients with heart failure must abstain from alcohol and illegal drug use.
  • Smoking.
  • Diabetes. Maintaining sugar control decreases risk.
  • Obesity. Maintaining a healthy weight decreases risk.
  • Genetic (family-related) factors may play a role.
  • A virus can sometimes cause heart failure.