How to Tell if you or your Loved One is Suffering from Heart Failure

Updated at: Jan 06, 2018
How to Tell if you or your Loved One is Suffering from Heart Failure

The thought of heart failure itself is damaging to one's senses. Learn the first few signs of it so you can take your loved one to a hospital as soon as the symptoms surface and seek treatment.

Bhadra Kamalasanan
Heart HealthWritten by: Bhadra KamalasananPublished at: Dec 09, 2013

It could be emotionally damaging to know that you or someone in your family is diagnosed with heart failure. But, if you doubt that someone may be at the mercy of heart failure now or someday soon, cross-check with the symptoms.  

Heart failureHeart is the centre of all the functions that take place inside the body. Even a tiny malfunction in it can trigger severe health problems and even death. Like most conditions, even heart failure makes the patient experience symptoms that will amplify whether he/she is likely to experience heart failure or not. Some of them are mentioned below:


Shortness of Breath

Those suffering from heart failure experience breathlessness while performing an activity, sleeping or resting. When breathlessness is experience during sleep, the patient wake up with a discomfort. The difficulty in breathing crops up especially when one is laying flat in which case the body will have to be lifted up and the head propped on two pillows. The patient may also wake up feeling anxious, restless or tired.


Persistent Wheezing or Coughing

If the patient produces cough that has white or pink blood-tinged mucus, he/she is highly likely to be suffering from heart failure. The white or pink blood-tinged mucus is produced as a result of build-up of fluid in the lungs.


If there is build-up of fluid in the tissues, which is characterised by swelling in the feet, legs, ankles or abdomen and weight gain, the person is suffering from heart failure. If the patient cannot really see the swelling of feet, tightness inside shoes may be a tell-tale sign. This happens when the blood that is returning to the heart through the veins backs up, triggering fluid build-up in the tissues. Another reason why this happens could be because of the failure of kidneys to dispose water and sodium, thereby leading to water retention.

Fatigue or Tiredness

If the person complains of being tired all the time, it is perhaps time to take him/her to the doctor. A difficulty in performing every day activities like climbing the stairs or even shopping, can point towards an impending danger of a heart failure. This happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the needs of the tissues of the body.

Impaired Thinking or Confusion

Patient with heart failure tend to be disoriented most times and experience terrible memory loss. This is usually noticed by a family member or a caregiver. Impaired thinking and confusion in hear in heart failure is experienced because of a change in the level of certain substances in the body such as sodium, the lack of which can lead to memory loss.

Diagnosis of heart failure, appearance of a new symptom or the worsening of an already existing symptom implies that the heart failure is getting worse and will most likely not respond to treatment. It is in such a situation, intrinsic to contact the doctor promptly.


Read more articles on Heart Failure Signs and Symptoms.


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