Heart attacks are the most common cause of congestive heart failure. You may know exactly when you had the heart attack or you may have suffered a so-called silent heart attack that damaged your heart muscle without you knowing it. In any case, the heart attack caused permanent damage to the heart muscle. And your heart is now no longer able to pump as efficiently as before. Your heart could have been damaged in other ways as well. There are inherited genetic diseases that can result in your heart muscle not pumping as well as it should. In many instances, this results in an enlarged heart. Sometimes diseased heart valves also cause heart failure. This is one reason why your doctor listens for a murmur during his physical exam. Heart murmurs sometimes point to the possibility of problems pumping blood. A less common cause of CHF are medications given for other health problems. Certain chemotherapy medicines used to treat cancer and certain antiviral medicines like what are used in HIV can cause heart failure. Whether the heart failure is from a heart attack or one of the less common causes, CHF causes problems in other areas of your body and eventually results in abnormal fluid buildup in your legs or your lungs. It's very important to pay attention to these symptoms and keep frequent follow-ups with your primary care team or cardiologist to help prevent ER visits and hospitalizations. But when you need us, we will be able to help.
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