- Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease) Slideshow Pictures
- Atrial Fibrillation Slideshow: Causes, Tests and Treatment
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- Patient Comments: Heart Failure - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Heart Failure - Treatments
- Find a local Cardiologist in your town
- What Is Heart Failure?
- What Causes Heart Failure?
- What Are the Symptoms of Heart Failure?
- What Are the Types of Heart Failure?
- How Is Heart Failure Diagnosed?
- How Is Heart Failure Treated?
- Stages of Heart Failure
- How Can I Prevent Heart Failure From Worsening?
- How Can I Prevent Further Heart Damage?
- What Medications Should I Avoid?
- How Can I Improve My Quality of Life?
- What Surgical Procedures Are Used to Treat Heart Failure?
- Treatment Is a Team Effort
- What Is the Outlook for People With Heart Failure?
Quick GuideA Visual Guide to Heart Disease
What Are the Symptoms of Heart Failure?
You may not have any symptoms of heart failure, or the symptoms may be mild to severe. Symptoms can be constant or can come and go. The symptoms of heart failure are related to the changes that occur to your heart and body, and may be moderate to severe, depending on how weak your heart is. The symptoms can include:
- Congested lungs. Fluid back up in the lungs can cause shortness of breath with exercise or difficulty breathing at rest or when lying flat in bed. Lung congestion can also cause a dry, hacking cough or wheezing.
- Fluid and water retention. Less blood to your kidneys causes fluid and water retention, resulting in swollen ankles, legs and abdomen (called edema) and weight gain. Symptoms may cause an increased need to urinate during the night. Bloating in your stomach may cause a loss of appetite or nausea.
- Dizziness, fatigue and weakness. Less blood to your major organs and muscles makes you feel tired and weak. Less blood to the brain can cause dizziness or confusion.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats. The heart beats faster to pump enough blood to the body. This can cause a fast or irregular heartbeat.
If you have heart failure, you may have one or all of these symptoms or you may have none of them. In addition, your symptoms may not be related to how weak your heart is; you may have many symptoms but your heart function may be only mildly weakened. Or you may have a more severely damaged heart but have no symptoms.