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The Warning Signs of Heart Failure

Last updated 3 years ago

Heart failure is a chronic condition that develops over time where the heart is no longer able to efficiently supply the body with enough blood. It is not the same as a heart attack, though you can certainly still have a heart attack or other problems that would require emergency care if you have heart failure. There are a number of warning signs of heart failure, and you should report any of these symptoms to your doctor right away for evaluation:

Shortness of Breath, Chronic Coughing, or Wheezing

When blood is not able to move through the body fast enough, it can begin to pool in the pulmonary veins, causing fluid to build up in the lungs. When this happens, you can experience shortness of breath for no identifiable reason at all, though most people notice the symptom upon becoming too easily winded during mild activities.

You might have shortness of breath alone or alongside coughing or wheezing. You may even cough up blood-tinged or white mucus. An increased heart rate where it feels like your heart is racing is also common as your heart tries to compensate for its inadequate force with speed.

Swelling (Edema)

Fluid can accumulate in the hands, feet, and other parts of the body as it seeps into the tissue because the blood isn’t moving fast enough. This can be mild or pronounced, and can be quite uncomfortable.

General Fatigue, Loss of Appetite, or Nausea

When your blood is moving too slowly, you may simply feel tired in general no matter how much rest you get, and you may have no interest in eating. Sometimes you can even feel sick to your stomach.

Mental Impairment

Heart failure may manifest in general confusion or memory loss. You might feel disoriented as the brain starves for vital minerals and electrolytes.

If you have any of these symptoms, or especially a combination of two or more, you need to see a cardiologist for assessment right away. If your symptoms are severe, you may need emergency care. Come to Oak Hill Hospital or contact our healthcare referral line at (888) 741-5120.


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