Congestive Heart Failure - Causes

What are the underlying causes of your congestive heart failure?

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What causes congestive heart failure?

Many disease processes can impair the pumping efficiency of the heart to cause congestive heart failure. In the United States, the most common causes of congestive heart failure are:

  • coronary artery disease
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • longstanding alcohol abuse
  • disorders of the heart valves
  • unknown (idiopathic) causes, such as after recovery from myocarditis

Less common causes include viral infections of the stiffening of the heart muscle, thyroid disorders, disorders of the heart rhythm, and many others.

It should also be noted that in patients with underlying heart disease, taking certain medications can lead to the development or worsening of congestive heart failure. This is especially true for those drugs that can cause sodium retention or affect the power of the heart muscle. Examples of such medications are the commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include ibuprofen (Motrin and others) and naproxen (Aleve and others) as well as certain steroids, some medication for diabetes (such as rosiglitazone [Avandia] or pioglitazone [Actos]), and some calcium channel blockers.

Return to Congestive Heart Failure

See what others are saying

Comment from: Kimberly, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 11

My name is Kimberly, I have read your CHF causes and I believe you missed mine. I did not get CHF from a disease I got mine from being pregnate with my 3rd child. I was told that it only happens once in a blue moon to a pregnate women, I carried full term to the day before due date, had her on a Tuesday (C-sec) went home on Friday spent 2 bad nights at home before finally going to ER on Sunday because every time I tried to lay down I would get right back up because my chest felt like something was weighing me down. Turns out my left lung was better than 3/4 full of fluid so they gave me shots to get fluid off.I went to potty 3x before they put a cath in, once that was done they got over 8 liters of fluid off me the 1st night. The next morning I was told that a human heart normally works 50 to 55 percent mine was on 25 and that it was a good thing I had a c-sec or I would have died during a natural birth of a massive heart attack and oh by the way your still not out of the woods because you only have a 50 50 chance of living. I was put on meds told I could not breast feed my baby anymore because of the meds. I asked to be worked off my meds after a year with the argument that I did not have a stroke or heart attack that my heart was a muscle that I could work back into shape, it was a long talk but they agreed to let me try if at first sign of it not working that I would go back on meds with no argument. I agreed and now I have been free of all my meds for about 9yrs. My daughter is about to be 11 she is happy, healthy and very active, if my health had to go bad for her to be healthy I'm ok with that but my question is even though I did not have a heart attack or stroke will I always be labeled as having CHF when I have not been on meds and my echo cardiogram is good? By the way I have not been to the doctors for anything other than a check up on my heart I am healthy,happy and very blessed to have my life to raise my 3 children myself.

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Comment from: lacheekyone, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 11

I went on a road trip & did not take my diuretics because the restrooms are and few in between. As I result, during the drive home, I began experiencing chest pains & shortness of breath. Upon arriving home, the symptoms had worsened. I called my doctor and he ordered me to go to the hospital immediately. After treatment he told I had been experiencing Congestive Heart Failure & had almost died. So, I no longer take long road trips. If I can't fly there, I just don't go.

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