European Heart Failure Awareness Day – Could you be suffering from Heart Failure?

Heart failure symptoms can vary widely from person to person, depending on the type of heart failure and stage of the disease. Answer this short list of questions to see if you could be suffering from Heart Failure:

Are you suffering from shortness of breath? Shortness of breath is caused by fluid accumulation and congestion in the lungs. In the early stages of heart failure you will probably only experience breathlessness after exercise, but if your heart failure progresses you may feel breathless when resting as well.

Are you experiencing frequent coughing or wheezing? Frequent coughing and wheezing usually develop as a result of fluid accumulation in the lungs.

Are you experiencing rapid changes in your weight? This is very common for people with heart failure and is the result of fluid accumulation in the lungs. It is important to weigh yourself frequently and tell your doctor if you notice your weight increase by more than 3 kilos (3 pounds) in 3 days.

Are you experiencing swelling ankles? As the body becomes overloaded with fluid from congestive heart failure, swelling (edema) of the ankles and legs or abdomen may be noticed.

Do you find yourself getting tired/fatigued easily? Heart failure reduces the heart’s pumping ability so less blood reaches the muscles. This lack of oxygen and nourishment causes your muscles to get tired much more quickly.

Are you suffering from rapid heart rate? When you have heart failure your heart tries to compensate for its lack of pumping power by beating faster (tachycardia) in order to keep up the same flow of blood around your body. This increased heart rate may sometimes be irregular and cause palpitations which feel like your heart is racing or throbbing.

To learn more about heart failure and about Heart Failure Awareness Day activities in your country, visit the European Society of Cardiologists website.