8 Subtle Warning Signs That Mean You May Have Heart Failure And Should Visit Your Doctor ASAP

Date June 26, 2018

Approximately 5.7 million Americans are living with heart failure, according to the CDC. Thousands of them don’t even know something is wrong with their heart. Do you know why? Because symptoms of the condition usually aren’t too severe in the beginning, and many of those who have them simply shrug them off.

Below, we list several symptoms that could indicate heart failure. If you have one or more of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor. They could be caused by many things other than heart failure, but it’s important to have them checked anyway.

READ ALSO: Keeping Your Heart Healthy With Diet: 9 Foods That Can Help Protect Your Heart From Dangerous Conditions

8 common symptoms of heart failure

If you have the following symptoms, it could mean your heart isn’t pumping blood as effectively as it should:

1. Breathlessness

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Shortness of breath is the most common symptom of heart failure. It’s normal to be out of breath after vigorous activity, such as intense workouts, but if you experience this symptom after doing your normal daily activities (say, climbing a flight of stairs) at a moderate pace, then it may be a sign of trouble. People with heart failure may also find that their shortness of breath gets worse when they are lying down, and they may even wake up in the middle of the night because it’s hard to breathe.

2. Weakness and tiredness

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If your heart isn’t pumping as it should, your tissues aren’t getting enough oxygen. That can leave you feeling weak and tired, even if you sleep well. You may feel you don’t have enough energy for exercise and your regular daily activities, such as walking the dog or carrying groceries.

3. Swelling in the lower body

In people with heart failure, excess fluid can accumulate in tissues, particularly in the lower body. Legs, ankles, and feet are often affected because of gravity. If you have heart failure, you may notice that your legs are visibly swollen, and you shoes suddenly feel tight. The swelling tends to get worse in the evening.

4. Feeling dizzy or lightheaded

When your heart’s pumping ability is impaired, your body first makes sure that the vital organs, such as the brain, receive enough blood to function. But if the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen with blood, you may get dizzy and lightheaded.

READ ALSO: 7 Managable Risk Factors Of Heart Disease Or How To Keep Your Heart Healthy

5. Feeling depressed or anxious


The connection between heart problems (such as heart failure) and low mood isn’t entirely clear, but those affected by heart conditions tend to be depressed or anxious.

6. Fast heart rate

If you have heart failure, your heart will try to compensate for its decreased ability to pump effectively by pumping faster. When your heart beats at a normal rate, it just does its job and you don’t even notice it. But when your heart rate is elevated, you’ll feel (and hear) it beating too fast.

7. Nausea and lack of appetite

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If your heart isn’t pumping enough blood to meet the needs of your digestive system, you may feel nauseous and lose appetite.

8. Persistent cough

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In heart failure, fluid may accumulate in the lungs, causing persistent cough. This symptom may be worse at night. Also, people with heart failure may cough up white or pink, bloody mucus.

If you have these symptoms, see your doctor soon. If your symptoms are sudden and severe, they warrant a trip to the ER.

Source: American Heart Association, Health, MedicineNet

READ ALSO: Fast Heart Rate: 11 Possible Causes And When To Worry

This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.

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