Symptoms of Heart failure
Symptoms of Heart failure: Introduction
Symptoms of heart failure can vary between individuals and can differ depending on the severity of the disease and the underlying cause. In some cases, an individual may not have symptoms until the disease has progressed and become severe. Early symptoms can develop slowly.
The primary symptom of heart failure is shortness of breath, which can occur at rest or with exertion. Shortness of breath often occurs when lying down and can interrupt sleep. It can be relieved to various degrees by sleeping in a semi-upright position.
Congestion and fluid in the lungs also leads to wheezing, chest pain, and an ongoing cough that brings up frothy phlegm that may be blood tinged. Fluid in the lungs also increases the risk of developing infections of the lungs, such as pneumonia, which can be fatal in some cases.
Symptoms can also include swelling (edema) of the feet, ankles, and legs. In severe cases, swelling can occur in the abdomen and arms as well. General symptoms include weakness, fatigue, and dizziness, confusion, restlessness, anxiety, and an alteration in consciousness, because the brain and body are not getting sufficient oxygen and nutrients to function properly. Paleness, or cyanosis, a bluish discoloration of the lips, feet and hands, may also occur.
Heart failure is not always fatal, but serious complications can occur, including arrhythmias. Certain arrhythmias that may occur with heart failure are fatal if not immediately treated and can result in cardiac arrest and death. Another life-threatening complication of heart failure is acute pulmonary edema, in which large amounts of fluid accumulate in the lungs....more about Heart failure »
Symptoms of Heart failure
The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources
for Heart failure includes the 22
symptoms listed below:
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Heart failure: Symptom Checkers
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Heart failure: Symptom Assessment Questionnaires
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Heart failure: Complications
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Diagnostic testing of medical conditions related to Heart failure:
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Do I have Heart failure?
Heart failure: Medical Mistakes
Heart failure: Undiagnosed Conditions
Diseases that may be commonly undiagnosed in related medical areas:
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Wrongly Diagnosed with Heart failure?
The list of other diseases or medical conditions
that may be on the differential diagnosis list of alternative diagnoses
for Heart failure includes:
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Heart failure: Research Doctors & Specialists
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Other Possible Causes of these Symptoms
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of other causes including diseases, medical conditions, toxins, drug interactions,
or drug side effect causes of that symptom.
Article Excerpts About Symptoms of Heart failure:
A number of symptoms are
associated with heart failure, but none is specific for the condition. Perhaps
the best known symptom is shortness of breath
("dyspnea") . In heart failure, this may result from excess fluid in the
lungs. The breathing difficulties may occur at rest or during exercise. In some
cases, congestion may be severe enough to prevent or interrupt sleep.
Fatigue or easy tiring is another common symptom. As the heart's pumping
capacity decreases, muscles and other tissues receive less oxygen and nutrition,
which are carried in the blood. Without proper "fuel," the body cannot perform
as much work, which translates into fatigue.
Fluid accumulation, or edema, may cause swelling of the feet, ankles, legs,
and occasionally, the abdomen. Excess fluid retained by the body may result in
weight gain, which sometimes occurs fairly quickly.
Persistent coughing is another common sign, especially coughing that
regularly produces mucus or pink, blood-tinged sputum. Some people develop raspy
breathing or wheezing.
Because heart failure usually develops slowly, the symptoms may not appear
until the condition has progressed over years. The heart hides the underlying
problem by making adjustments that delay--but do not prevent--the eventual loss
in pumping capacity. The heart adjusts, or compensates, in three ways to cope
with and hide the effects of heart failure:
- Enlargement ("dilatation"), which allows more blood into the heart;
- Thickening of muscle fibers ("hypertrophy") to strengthen the heart
muscle, which allows the heart to contract more forcefully and pump more
- More frequent contraction, which increases circulation.
these adjustments, or compensating, the heart can temporarily make up for losses
in pumping ability, sometimes for years. However, compensation has its limits.
Eventually, the heart cannot offset the lost ability to pump blood, and the
signs of heart failure appear.
(Source: excerpt from NHLBI, Heart Failure: NHLBI
Heart failure as a Cause of Symptoms or Medical Conditions
When considering symptoms of Heart failure, it is also important to consider Heart failure as a possible cause of other medical conditions.
The Disease Database lists the following medical conditions that Heart failure may cause:
- (Source - Diseases Database)
Heart failure as a symptom:
For a more detailed analysis of Heart failure as a symptom, including causes, drug side effect causes, and drug interaction causes, please see our Symptom Center information for Heart failure.
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in relation to medical signs and symptoms of disease in general:
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About signs and symptoms of Heart failure:
The symptom information on this page
attempts to provide a list of some possible signs and symptoms of Heart failure.
This signs and symptoms information for Heart failure has been gathered from various sources,
may not be fully accurate,
and may not be the full list of Heart failure signs or Heart failure symptoms.
Furthermore, signs and symptoms of Heart failure may vary on an individual basis for each patient.
Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of any signs or symptoms and whether they
are indeed Heart failure symptoms.