Symptoms of Heart failure
General information about symptoms of Heart failure: The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible symptoms of Heart failure. This symptom information has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of symptoms of Heart failure. Furthermore, symptoms of Heart failure may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of symptoms and whether they are indeed symptoms of Heart failure.
List of symptoms of Heart failure: The list of symptoms mentioned in various sources for Heart failure includes:
- Breathless with exertion
- Shortness of breath
- Fluid accumulation
- Generalized edema
- Swollen legs
- Swollen feet
- Swollen ankles
- Lung congestion
- Fluid accumulation
- Abnormal weight gain
- Persistent coughing
- Coughing up blood - in small amounts
- Raspy breathing
- Heart enlargement
- Heart hypertrophy
- Night urination
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.
More symptoms of Heart failure: In addition to the above information, to get a full picture of the possible symptoms of this condition and its related conditions, it may be necessary to examine symptoms that may be caused by complications of Heart failure, underlying causes of Heart failure, associated conditions for Heart failure, risk factors for Heart failure, or other related conditions.
Medical articles on symptoms: These general reference articles may be of interest:
1. excerpt from NHLBI, Heart Failure: NHLBI
Last revision: May 29, 2003
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