Generally, heart failure is caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure, coronary-artery disease, a heart attack, and/or hardening of the arteries. “The risk factors are the same as the risk factors for a heart attack: smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, and obesity,” says Hal Skopicki, M.D., Ph.D., chief of cardiology and director of the Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy Program at the Stony Brook University Heart Institute in Stony Brook, New York. In rare cases, HF can be caused by a virus or centennial heart defects, develop after pregnancy.
Chemotherapy, especially the chemotherapy used for breast cancer and lymphoma, can also prompt the heart muscles to deteriorate. In fact, a study found that people with these cancers were twice as likely to develop HF compared to people who never had cancer.