The main symptoms of heart failure are fatigue, shortness of breath and swelling in the lower legs and ankles.
The symptoms of heart failure may come and go over time. Patients with heart failure tend to retain fluid. This fluid can accumulate in the legs causing swelling, and in the lungs causing shortness of breath. When someone with heart failure retains too much fluid, his or her symptoms worsen. This is why it is important to understand the importance of Sodium Restriction and Fluid Restriction.
There are a number of other symptoms of heart failure, including:
- poor memory, difficulty concentrating
- cold hands and feet
- swelling in the abdomen
- shortness of breath lying flat (having to use many pillows to be comfortable)
- waking up at night feeling short of breath
- waking up at night to urinate
- dry cough, sometimes worse lying flat
- loss of appetite or feeling full quickly after eating small amounts
- chest pain
- feeling the heart pound or beat quickly
Take Home Messages:
- The most common symptoms of heart failure are fatigue and shortness of breath, particularly with exertion.
- Other common symptoms include swelling of the legs and ankles, difficulty lying flat because of shortness of breath, or waking up in the night feeling short of breath.
- The symptoms of heart failure may come and go over time.