Heart failure Symptoms: You Should Know About It

Divya Tripathi

, Health A2Z

Heart failure, it is also known as congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t pump blood the way it should pump. Some conditions, like narrowed arteries in your heart or high blood pressure, can make your heart too weak or to fill and pump efficiently.


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Not all conditions that lead to heart failure can be changed, but treatments can improve the heart failure symptoms, and help you live longer. Lifestyle changes such as reducing sodium amount in your diet, exercising, managing stress, and losing weight can help you reduce heart failure symptoms.


What Is Heart Failure?


Heart failure does not mean that it stopped working, it means that the heart works less accurately than usual. Due to different possible causes, blood accelerates through the body and heart at a slower rate, so the pressure in the heart increases.


Thus, the heart cannot provide sufficient oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s requirements. The chambers of the heart can respond by stretching to contain more blood to pump through the body or by becoming thickened and stiff. It helps to keep the blood moving, but the heart muscle walls can become gradually weaken and unable to pump effectively.


Subsequently, the kidneys have to respond by causing the body to retain water and salt. If fluid builds up in the legs, arms, ankles, feet, or other organs, then the body becomes congested, and this condition is known as congestive heart failure.


What are the Heart Failure Symptoms?


The common Heart failure symptoms and sign may include:


  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when you lie down or exert yourself


  • Fatigue and weakness


  • Swelling (edema) in your legs, feet, and ankles.


  • A persistent cough or wheezing


  • Very rapid weight gain


  • Nausea


  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat


  • Reduced ability to exercise


  • Increased need to urinate at night


  • Swelling of your abdomen


  • Lack of appetite


  • Sudden, severe shortness of breath


  • Decreased alertness or difficulty concentrating




The Others Heart Failure Symptoms can be


Fluid and water retention


A weak heart pumps less blood to your kidneys which causes water or fluid retention, as a result, swollen ankles, abdomen, legs, and weight gain. This can also cause increased urination during the night as your body wants to get rid of this excess fluid.


Congested lungs


A weak heart causes fluid to come up in the lungs. This can cause to shortness of breath while exercising or difficulty breathing when lying flat in bed. Lung congestion can also cause a wheezing, dry, or a hacking cough.


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What are the Causes Of Heart Failure?


These are the conditions that can damage or weaken your heart and can cause heart failure.


High blood pressure or Hypertension


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If you have blood pressure is high, then your heart needs to work harder than to circulate blood throughout your body. gradually, this extra exertion can make your heart muscle too weak or too stiff to pump blood effectively.


Faulty Heart Valves


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The valves of the heart keep blood moving in the correct direction through the heart. A damaged valve forces your heart to work harder, which can weaken it gradually.


Artery Disease and Heart Attack


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Coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease as well as heart failure. The disease results from the buildup of fatty plaque (deposits) in your arteries, which reduces the blood flow and leads to a heart attack.


Damage to the Heart Muscle (cardiomyopathy)


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Heart muscle damage can have many causes, including several infections, diseases, alcohol abuse or the toxic effect of drugs, such as drugs used for chemotherapy or cocaine.




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It is an inflammation or swelling of the heart muscle. Usually, it is caused by a virus and can lead to left-sided heart failure.


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If your heart and its valves or chambers haven’t formed correctly, then the healthy parts of your heart have to work harder to pump blood through your heart, later which may lead to heart failure.


Abnormal Heart Rhythms


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Abnormal heart rhythms can lead to a too fast heartbeat, it creates extra work for your heart. A slower heartbeat can also lead to heart failure.


Chronic Diseases


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Chronic diseases like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, HIV, hypothyroidism, or a buildup of iron also may contribute to heart failure.


What are the Risk Factors of Heart Failure?


Only a single risk factor is sufficient to cause heart failure, but a combination of factors also increases your risk of heart failure includes:


  • High blood pressure


  • Coronary artery disease


  • Heart attack.


  • Diabetes.


  • Some diabetes medications. like rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos)


  • Don’t stop taking any medications on your own.


  • Sleep apnea.


  • Congenital heart defects.


  • Valvular heart disease


  • Viruses


  • Alcohol use.


  • Tobacco use.



  • Irregular heartbeats.


What are the Different Types of Heart Failure?


Heart failure can occur in either the right or left side of your heart. It’s also a possibility of heart failure on both sides at the same time.

Based on the Heart failure symptoms it can also be classified as either diastolic or systolic.


Left-sided Heart Failure


Left-sided heart failure is the most common type of heart failure.

The left heart ventricle is located in the bottom left corner of your heart. This particular area of the heart is responsible for pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body.

The Left-sided heart failure occurs when your left ventricle doesn’t pump properly. It does not allow your body to get enough oxygen-rich blood. So, it backs up into your lungs instead, which causes shortness of breath.


Right-sided Heart Failure


The responsibility of right heart ventricle is pumping blood to your lungs to collect oxygen. The Right-sided heart failure occurs when that side of your heart does not work properly. It’s usually started by left-sided heart failure. The mass of blood in the lungs caused by left-sided heart failure which makes the right ventricle work harder. This can stress the right side of the heart and lead to heart failure.


Diastolic Heart Failure


Diastolic heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes harder than usual. The stiffness, which occurs due to heart disease, it means that your heart doesn’t fill with blood easily. This condition is known as diastolic dysfunctioning. It leads to a lack of blood flow to the rest of the body.

This heart failure is more common in women than in men.


Systolic Heart Failure


Systolic heart failure occurs when the heart muscle stops contracting efficiently. The contractions of the heart are a necessary condition to pump up oxygen-rich blood out to the body. This condition is known as systolic dysfunctioning, and it usually develops when your heart is enlarged or weak.

This heart failure is more common in men than in women.

Both diastolic and systolic heart failure can occur at any side of the heart either on the left or right sides. You may have this condition either on both sides of the heart.




Heart failure is a life threating disease, it can also cause many other serious issues like a heart stroke, organ failure, and even death. As always said, prevention is better than cure, so if you have a family history of heart disease or you can find any other heart failure symptoms then you should not wait for longer and consult your cardiologist as soon as possible.


There are some more lifestyle changes, which help you protect yourself with the heart failure symptoms or the disease. Do regular exercise be active it also helps to stay your heart healthy.


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