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Symptoms and Signs of 8 Early Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure

Doctor's Notes on 8 Early Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure

Heart failure is a condition where the heart muscle is unable to adequately pump blood through the body; blood backs up and puts pressure on the blood vessels that cause water to leak out into the tissues of the body and cause signs and symptoms. Heart failure can occur in the right ventricle or the left ventricle of the heart. The following are 8 signs or symptoms of right heart failure and left heart failure:

  • Right heart failure symptoms include weight gain that can occur gradually or quickly, leg swelling and/or peripheral edema and increased urination.
  • Left heart failure symptoms include shortness of breath on exertion, fatigue and exercise intolerance, shortness of breath when lying flat (orthopnea), paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (waking at night with the feeling of suffocating and/or shortness of breath) and plural effusions (accumulation in the lungs causing increasing severity of shortness of breath).

The causes of all of the symptoms and signs of heart failure are due to the heart muscle’s inability to adequately pump blood into the arteries that results in an accumulation of fluid within body tissues.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

8 Early Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure Symptoms

When the right ventricle cannot pump blood adequately, blood backs up into the veins that return blood to the right heart. Fluid then leaks out of veins and capillaries.

  • Heart failure is a condition whereby the heart muscle is unable to adequately pump blood throughout the body.
  • There are a variety of illnesses and diseases that affect the heart's pumping capability.
  • Heart failure causes signs and symptoms due to the excess accumulation of fluid within the tissues of the body.
  • When the heart muscle becomes weak and cannot adequately pump blood into the arteries, blood "backs up," and pressure in the blood vessels causes water to leak out of blood vessels into the tissues of the body, which may cause heart failure.

As the left side of the heart (left atrium and ventricle) fails to pump blood adequately, a backup of fluid occurs in the lungs. Water seeps out of the tiny capillary blood vessels into the lungs. This makes it difficult for oxygen to be absorbed and creates shortness of breath.

As the left side of the heart (left atrium and ventricle) fails to pump blood adequately, a backup of fluid occurs in the lungs. Water seeps out of the tiny capillary blood vessels into the lungs. This makes it difficult for oxygen to be absorbed and creates shortness of breath.

  • When both the right and left sides of the heart fail to pump adequately, the symptoms and signs of both right and left heart failure develop. The person may complaint of swelling in the legs and feet as well as shortness of breath.
  • When both the right and left sides of the heart fail to pump adequately, the symptoms and signs of both right and left heart failure develop. The person may complaint of swelling in the legs and feet as well as shortness of breath.

Heart Health What Causes Heart Palpitations? Slideshow

Heart Health What Causes Heart Palpitations? Slideshow

Your heart pounds, flutters, or seems to skip beats. You might call these feelings palpitations. Although they can feel scary, most aren't serious and rarely need treatment. Knowing what makes your heart race can help you not panic when it happens and know when to call your doctor.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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