Congestive heart failure is characterized by issues affecting the bottom left and right chambers of the heart. Oftentimes, it is an indication of a severe heart disease and regarded as a terminal ailment.
Those who are in the advanced phase of heart failure has a 40-40% chance of surviving the disease. Early recognition of the fundamental signs of heart failure is vital so that prompt treatment can be started to prevent death.
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is the usual sign of congestive heart failure. Engaging in physical activity typically triggers this. Once the condition worsens, the intensity of physical activity that instigates shortness of breath decreases. If left untreated, heart failure can cause shortness of breath even while at rest.
Weakness and fatigue particularly in the legs and arms are the usual signs of heart failure. This is brought about by the diminished output of blood from the heart and subsequent poor circulation in the limbs.
The fatigue and weakness can arise while at rest or when engaging in physical activity and can become worse after eating due to the increased requirement of blood flow to the stomach to aid with digestion.
Nocturia is an initial sign of heart failure that arises once the kidneys do not receive enough blood flow. This results to frequent waking up during sleep to urinate.
Oliguria is defined as a significant decrease in the production of urine linked with the reduced output of blood from the heart. The condition might be a sign of severe heart failure.
GI tract signs
Individuals with heart failure might suffer from digestive discomfort due to fluid retention in the abdomen and the liver. The discomfort is described as generalized achiness or heavy sensation brought about by stretching of the abdomen and organs due to water retention.
If there is an increase in the waist or clothes feel tight around the waist, it might be linked to the condition.
Cerebral signs of heart failure
The cerebral signs such as memory loss, confusion, anxiety, headaches, insomnia and hallucinations might be present among older individuals with advanced cases of heart failure. The symptoms are linked with the diminished blood flow from the heart and ensuing poor circulation of blood to the brain.
Dry cough without any mucus might be present among those with congestive heart failure. This is brought about by congestion of the lungs. Additionally, some of the drugs used to manage the condition can also lead to coughing.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on heart failure is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the characteristic signs by taking a standard first aid course with Red Deer First Aid.