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Causes of heart failure

The most common causes of heart failure are:

Other causes of heart failure include:

  • pregnancy: You may develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. This condition is called preeclampsia.
  • birth defect: Part of your heart may not have developed correctly. This is known as congenital heart disease.
  • infection: Your valves and/or heart muscle may be damaged by either a viral or bacterial infection.
  • lung disease or diabetes: Both of these diseases put extra strain on your heart. The extra work can cause your heart muscle to weaken.
  • alcohol, illegal drugs, chemotherapy or other toxins: These can cause the heart muscle permanent damage.
  • morbid obesity: Being very overweight may cause heart failure due to the extra work the heart has to perform.



Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 06/01/2007

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts