Patient Education

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Triggers of Sudden Heart Failure

Topic Overview

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.

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 getting worse.
  • 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.

Things that can cause sudden heart failure

Many health problems can cause sudden heart failure. These include:

  • Lung infections (pneumonia).
  • Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
  • Certain medicines used to treat heart rhythm problems. These medicines may also increase the risk of heart failure.
  • Conditions that affect your need for oxygen. These may include fever, anemia (not enough red blood cells), thyroid problems, and poorly controlled diabetes.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: April 29, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Stephen Fort MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology

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On August 24th, 2021, Andrea (Annie) Habel, MD joined our practice! Annie spent time with us and our patients last August as a Resident and we are happy to announce that she has decided to start her career with us! She graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine (WWAMI Program) and completed her residency at the University of Colorado Swedish Family Medicine in Denver. She is also a current active member of the Wyoming National Guard.Continue Reading