Heart Failure

  • Medical Author:
    Erica Oberg, ND, MPH

    Dr. Erica Oberg, ND, MPH, received a BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado, her doctorate of naturopathic medicine (ND) from Bastyr University, and a masters of public health (MPH) in health services research from the University of Washington. She completed her residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in ambulatory primary care and fellowship training at the Health Promotion Research Center at the University of Washington.

  • Medical Author: Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, ABIHM
    Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, ABIHM

    Dr. Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, ABIHM, is board certified in cardiovascular disease, internal medicine, nuclear medicine, and holistic medicine. Dr. Guarneri is president of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine and serves as Senior Advisor to the Atlantic Health System for the Center for Well Being and Integrative Medicine. Dr. Guarneri is founder and director of Guarneri Integrative Health, Inc. and Taylor Academy for Integrative Medicine Education and Research located at Pacific Pearl La Jolla in La Jolla, CA.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Quick GuideHeart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack

Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack

What are heart failure symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Fatigue
  3. Lightheadedness
  4. Exercise intolerance
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Nausea
  7. Coughing (or chronic cough)
  8. Wheezing
  9. Pounding or racing heart
  10. Excessive tiredness
  11. Confusion
  12. Problems thinking
  13. Swelling in the ankles
  14. Swelling in the abdomen
  15. Chest pain

Symptoms are usually worse at night when lying flat. Symptoms are very similar for systolic and diastolic heart failure. Your doctor may need further testing to see which type you have.

What are the risk factors for heart failure?

The most common risk factors for heart failure include:

Less well recognized risk factors of heart failure include:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • An unhealthy diet (low in antioxidant vegetables and high in animal fats)
  • Stress
  • Lack of exercise

All of these also contribute to coronary artery disease, which is a major risk factor for heart failure.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/22/2016

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