Question: What are some of the most important risk factors for the development of heart failure?
Answer: Well, it's interesting. You know, one in five of us is going to develop heart failure at some point in our lives, so it's a very common problem and a major public health problem. The two dominant risk factors are coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. Coronary artery disease, by causing heart attacks, causes the heart muscle to weaken so the heart can't pump blood as well. And that's a very important cause.
Hypertension over the years causes thickening and stiffening of the heart muscle and, eventually in some cases, enlargement of the heart muscle. And this leads to both kinds of heart failure and again is one of the strongest risk factors.
The other big ones to be aware of are obesity and diabetes, and this is why we really stress weight loss and exercise as much as possible to hopefully minimize that risk.