Symptoms of Congestive Heart or Cardiac Failure

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Last Updated on Dec 13, 2019
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Symptoms of Congestive Heart or Cardiac Failure

Fatigue is one of the earliest symptoms of congestive heart failure. It is a non specific feature and can signify a number of other conditions.

The symptoms of congestive heart failure are variable and depend upon the condition of the individual, the organ system affected due to the heartís disability.

  • Fatigue is one of the earliest symptoms of congestive heart failure. It is a non specific feature and can signify a number of other conditions.
  • Swelling (oedema) of the ankles and legs or abdomen: Congestive heart failure leads to fluid overload in the body. This is actually due to failure of the right heart. Right heart failure may be due to a long standing left heart failure or severe lung diseases (such as cor pulmonale). Less commonly intrinsic disease of the right heart can also cause this.
  • An increase in body weight is one of the earliest signs of fluid accumulation
  • Shortness of breath: Fluid accumulation in the lung lead to shortness of breath when the patient lies flat. Sometimes they awaken at night, gasping for air. (Orthopnoea and Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnoea respectively)
  • Some patients canít sleep unless sitting upright.
  • Increased urination: especially at night
  • When the intestines or liver get affected, features like nausea, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite walk in.

References:

  1. Cecil Medicine, 23rd Ed.
  2. Harrison''s PRINCIPLES OF INTERNAL MEDICINE, 17TH Edition
  3. Amsterdam EA. Revised American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines for the management of heart failure. Prev Cardiol. 2005 Fall;8(4):254, 256.
  4. Heart Failure Society Of America. Evaluation and management of patients with acute decompensated heart failure. J Card Fail. 2006 Feb;12(1):e86-e103. Review.

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Congestive heart failure can affect many organs. For example: The weakened heart muscle may not be able to deliver enough blood to the kidneys, which in turn begin to lose their normal ability to excrete salt and water. This can cause decreased kidney function in the body to retain more fluid. The lungs can become clogged with fluid and the ability of the person to take down. The fluid can also accumulate in the liver, which hinders their ability to rid the body of toxins and produce essential proteins. The intestines can become less efficient in absorbing nutrients and drugs. The fluid can also accumulate in the extremities, causing swelling of the ankles and feet. http://www.insideheart.com

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