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Symptoms of Heart Failure
- Shortness of breath, especially with activity, or when lying down
- Edema in the legs, ankles, and feet
- Fatigue and weakness
- Persistent cough or a wheezing cough that may be accompanied by white or blood-tinged phlegm
- Rapid weight gain as a result of fluid accumulation
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Change in urine production, which may include an increase, decrease, or need to urinate at night
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased alertness
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- Cardiomyopathy—Structural changes in the heart muscle caused by excess load on the heart.
- Heart arrhythmias— Irregular heartbeats make it harder to keep chronic heart failure stabilized. They can also lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
- Liver failure—Excess fluid build-up affects the liver's ability to function normally. It may also cause the liver to enlarge.
- Kidney failure—Reduced blood flow to the kidneys results in fluid retention, leading to edema. It also increases blood pressure, forcing the heart to work harder.
- Stroke—Reduced blood flow to the brain and increased blood pressure can cause a stroke.
Heart failure. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 7, 2013. Accessed October 7, 2013.
Signs and symptoms of heart failure. Heart failure website. Available at: http://www.heartfailure.org/heart-failure/signs-symptoms. Accessed October 7, 2013.
Symptoms & diagnosis of heart failure. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/SymptomsDiagnosisofHeartFailure/Symptoms-Diagnosis-of-Heart-Failure%5FUCM%5F002047%5FArticle.jsp. Updated September 20, 2012. Accessed October 7, 2013.
Vasan RS, Benjamin EJ, et al. Prevalence, clinical features and prognosis of diastolic heart failure; an epidemiologic perspective. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1995;26:1565-1574.
What are the signs and symptoms of heart failure? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hf/signs.html. Updated January 9, 2013. Accessed October 7, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 10/00/2013