Sudden heart failure happens when your heart suddenly cannot pump as much blood as your body needs.
Certain things, called triggers, can cause sudden heart failure. These triggers make it harder for your heart to pump well. But if you know what the triggers are, you can try to prevent them.
Things that can cause sudden heart failure
Many health problems can cause sudden heart failure. These include:
A recent heart attack.
(emboli) in organs other than the heart, especially the lungs. Blood clots
increase the pressure against which the heart must contract. Blood clots in the
lungs also decrease the amount of blood returning from the lungs to the left
side of the heart.
Inflammation of the pericardium. This is the
sac around the heart. The inflammation is called
Lung infections (pneumonia).
heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
Certain medicines used to treat
heart rhythm problems. These medicines may also increase the risk of heart
Conditions that affect your need for oxygen. These may include
fever, anemia (not enough red blood cells), thyroid problems, and poorly controlled
What you can do to prevent sudden heart failure
You can help prevent sudden heart failure by avoiding the triggers that cause it.
Pay attention to your symptoms, and know when to call your doctor. Changes in
your weight, trouble breathing, decreased appetite, and swelling (usually
first noticed in the feet and legs) may be signs that your heart failure is
Keep your diet, exercise, and medicine routine as
close to the same schedule as possible.
Take your medicine properly.
Avoid things that you know
can trigger heart failure, such as eating too much salt or exercising very hard.
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