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Who Is at Risk for Heart Failure?

About 5.8 million people in the United States have heart failure. The number of people who have this condition is growing.

Heart failure is more common in:

  • People who are 65 years old or older. Aging can weaken the heart muscle. Older people also may have had diseases for many years that led to heart failure. Heart failure is a leading cause of hospital stays among people on Medicare.
  • African Americans. African Americans are more likely to have heart failure than people of other races. They're also more likely to have symptoms at a younger age, have more hospital visits due to heart failure, and die from heart failure.
  • People who are overweight. Excess weight puts strain on the heart. Being overweight also increases your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. These diseases can lead to heart failure.
  • People who have had a heart attack.
  • Men. Men have a higher rate of heart failure than women.

Children who have congenital heart defects also can develop heart failure. These defects occur if the heart, heart valves, or blood vessels near the heart don't form correctly while a baby is in the womb.

Congenital heart defects can make the heart work harder. This weakens the heart muscle, which can lead to heart failure.

Children don't have the same symptoms of heart failure or get the same treatments as adults. This article focuses on heart failure in adults.

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March 27, 2014