Merdeka.com – Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle is not able to pump blood properly. When this happens, the blood will back up and fluid can build up in the lungs, causing shortness of breath.
In some people with heart failure, the heart has difficulty pumping enough blood to support other organs in the body. Others may experience hardening and stiffness of the heart muscle itself, which blocks or reduces blood flow to the heart.
This heart failure condition can affect the right or left side of your heart or both at the same time. It can be an acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing) condition.
In acute heart failure, symptoms can appear suddenly and disappear fairly quickly. This condition often occurs after a heart attack. It may also result from problems with the heart valves that control blood flow in the heart.
However, in chronic heart failure, the symptoms will appear continuously and do not improve over time. And unfortunately, most cases of heart failure are chronic.
So, what are the symptoms of heart failure?
Reported from heart.org, here are heart failure symptoms which you should watch out for.
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Shortness of breath (Dyspnea)
The first symptom of heart failure is shortness of breath. Shortness of breath during activity, at rest, or during sleep, may come on suddenly and wake you up. You may have difficulty breathing when lying on your back and will need to support your upper body and head with two pillows. You may also often complain of waking up tired or feeling anxious and restless.
This occurs because blood “backs up” in the pulmonary veins (the vessels that return blood from the lungs to the heart) because the heart can’t keep up with the supply. This causes fluid to leak into the lungs.
Persistent cough or wheezing
The second symptom of heart failure is a persistent cough or wheezing. Coughing occurs usually produces white or pink mucus. This occurs because of fluid that builds up in the lungs.
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Accumulation of Fluid in Body Tissues (Edema)
The third symptom of heart failure is due to a buildup of fluid in body tissues. Swelling will occur in the feet, ankles, legs or abdomen, or perhaps weight gain. You may find your shoes feel cramped or tight.
This happens because the flow of blood out of the heart slows down, blood returning to the heart via the veins backs up, causing fluid to build up in the tissues. Kidneys are not able to get rid of sodium and water, also causes fluid retention in the tissues.
The fourth symptom of heart failure is fatigue. You may feel tired all the time and have difficulty performing daily activities, such as climbing stairs, carrying groceries or walking.
The heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body’s tissues. The body diverts blood away from less vital organs, especially the muscles in the legs, and sends it to the heart and brain.
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Lack of appetite
The fifth symptom of heart failure is decreased appetite or feeling nauseous. You may feel like your stomach is full or have an upset stomach. This happens because the digestive system receives less blood, thereby causing problems with digestion.
The next symptom of heart failure is that it causes confusion or impaired thinking. You may experience memory loss and a feeling of disorientation. This condition will usually be realized in advance by your family or relatives. This condition occurs due to changing levels of certain substances in the blood, such as sodium, which can make you confused.
Increased Heart Rate
The last symptom of heart failure is an increased heart rate. You may feel your heart pounding, which feels like your heart is beating fast or throbbing. This occurs because the heart is trying to “replace” the loss of pumping capacity, thereby making the heart beat faster.