February 6, 2016

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Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

What are the risk factors for congestive heart failure?

Congestive heart failure is often a consequence of atherosclerotic heart disease and therefore the risk factors are the same: poorly controlled high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and family history. Heart valve disease becomes a risk factor as the patient ages.

Other causes of heart failure have their own set of risk factors and predispositions and it becomes a complication of those diseases. Such causes may include obstructive sleep apnea, alcohol and drug abuse, infections, and connective tissue disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis, and amyloidosis.

Many patients have stable congestive heart failure but can decompensate when a change occurs to their body. For example, a patient with congestive heart failure may be doing well but then develops pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, or suffers a heart attack. The patient's heart may not be able to react to the body's changing environment and does not have the capability or reserve to meet the body's energy needs. As well, acute decompensation may occur if the patient drinks excess fluid, has a large intake of salt that can retain water in the body, or forgets to take their routine medication. Continue Reading

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Reviewed on 12/3/2015