Fluid buildup can also cause your abdomen to swell, which Dr. Solanki says is usually a sign that the right side of your heart is having issues.
5. Nausea and lack of appetite
When your abdomen is swollen from excess fluid, it’s hard to have a great appetite. « Many people with this symptom of heart failure cannot eat much and may feel nauseous, » says Dr. Wald.
6. A fast or irregular heartbeat
As heart failure progresses, the organ often tries to overcompensate by beating faster to increase circulation to the rest of your body. « People may start to experience heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats, » confirms Dr. Solanki.
7. Constant coughing or wheezing
This is also due to the buildup of fluid and blood in your lungs, says Dr. Solanki. Coughing up pink-colored mucus from blood, in particular, is often a sign that your heart failure has progressed to a more advanced and severe stage.2
8. Very rapid and unexplained weight gain
Here is yet another sign of fluid buildup in your body. « If you see more than a two-pound weight gain over a 24-hour period, that’s a potential sign of an acute heart failure problem, » Jennifer Wong, MDcardiologist and medical director of noninvasive cardiology at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute in Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif., says SELF.
9. Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
People with severe heart failure may not get enough blood to the brain, says Dr. Wald. As a result, your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen it needs to function well, leading to problems staying alert and focused. At this point, you may have low levels of sodium in your blood, which can be confusing for some people, according to the AHA.
10. Chest pain
« When your heart is pumping rapidly, but your upper body circulation isn’t able to keep up, you can start to develop chest pain, » says Dr. Solanki. The sensation of this pain varies from person to person, but it can range from mild discomfort to a pinching sensation or a sharp, burning pain. Chest pain can also signal coronary artery disease linked to heart failure, a condition in which your arteries become very narrow or completely blocked, often leading to a heart attack, according to the CDC.
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How to use « FACES » to remember symptoms of heart failure
FACES is a simple mnemonic device and a quick way to remember some of the most common signs of heart failure:3
- Alimited activities
- VSgreatest congestion
- Edema or ankle swelling
- Sshortness of breath
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How is heart failure diagnosed?
First, your doctor will review your medical history to identify any potential risk factors for heart failure. Then they will perform a physical exam to listen to your lungs for signs of fluid buildup and your heart for specific noises that may indicate heart failure.
After that, there are a host of potential tests your doctor may recommend if they suspect you have symptoms of heart failure, depending on the Mayo Clinic: