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Heart Failure

Heart Failure Causes

A person's risk of developing heart failure is due to a combination of lifestyle factors, heredity, and age. Having two or more of the following risk factors increases a person's heart failure and heart disease risk:

Heart failure risk factors

Additional heart disease risk factors

  • Metabolic syndrome
    Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that increase a person's risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
    • Central obesity (a large waistline)
    • Unhealthy cholesterol levels: high LDL ("bad") cholesterol, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, and high triglycerides
    • High blood pressure
    • Elevated fasting blood sugar (glucose)
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Family history of heart disease
    • Father or a brother diagnosed with heart disease before 55 years of age.
    • Mother or a sister diagnosed with heart disease before 65 years of age.
  • Age and gender
    • Male of age 45 and older
    • Female of age 55 and older (or after menopause)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of Americans with the following heart disease risk factors are:

People of age 20 and older (1999–2002)
Hypertension or taking hypertension medications30.2%
High blood cholesterol17.3%
Physician–diagnosed diabetes6.5%
Obesity30.5%

People of age 18 and older (2003)
Current cigarette smokers21.6%
Physically inactive37.6%