Early warning signs of heart failure

March 8, 2024

Early warning signs of heart failure
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Heart Failure

The muscle in your heart beats continuously to circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. The cardiac muscle may become weaker or stiffer due to several ailments. This results in ineffective heart pumping. When the heart can no longer pump blood efficiently enough to meet the body’s demands, it leads to heart failure.

Meaning of Heart Failure

Your body adapts to meet blood needs when your heart pumps less vigorously.To accommodate more blood to pump through your body, the heart’s chambers may enlarge. If not, the heart muscle stiffens and thickens in an effort to keep blood flowing. The increased effort wears out cardiac cells over time. The walls of the heart’s muscle weaken and lose their ability to pump.

Hormones that restrict blood vessels and cause the kidneys to retain more fluid (water and salt) are released by the body when the heart isn’t functioning properly. The increased sodium and fluids cause your blood pressure to rise and your heart to beat faster. Your arms, legs, ankles, and feet begin to fill with fluid.Your lungs, limbs, legs, ankles, feet, or other organs begin to fill with fluid. This is referred to by doctors as congestive heart failure.

Your heart eventually weakens to the point that it is unable to pump enough blood to meet your body’s demands. Heart failure is that.

Causes of Heart Failure

Various disorders that cause damage to the heart muscle can lead to heart failure, such as:

  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)- CAD is caused by the accumulation of sticky plaque in the arteries that provide the heart with blood and oxygen. The heart muscle’s blood flow decreases. The heart is deprived of oxygen and nourishment if the arteries become clogged or significantly constricted.
  • A Cardiac Arrest – An artery supplying blood to the heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked, resulting in a cardiac arrest/ heart attack. A portion of the heart muscle becomes injured and malfunctions when there is not enough blood flow.
  • Myopathy of the heart – The heart can’t pump blood sufficiently if it is damaged. This illness can be brought on by infections, altered genes, and alcohol or drug usage.
  • Circumstances that cause the heart to overwork – Heart failure can be caused by hypertension, heart valve disease, thyroid issues, kidney illness, diabetes, or congenital cardiac defects. Heart failure can occasionally result from the combination of many diseases.

Types of Heart Failure

The ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart, are involved in two different forms of heart failure:

On the left side – There are two types of left-sided heart failure i.e systolic and diastolic. The inability of the left ventricle to contract sufficiently to pump blood out results in systolic heart failure. Failure of the left ventricle to relax and fill completely is known as diastolic heart failure. Blood backs up in the lungs as a result of both forms of left-sided heart failure.

On the right side – Fluid can re-enter the abdomen, legs, or feet when the right ventricle is unable to pump effectively.

Early Signs of Heart Failure

  • Chest Pain: Though many people are unaware that chest pain may indicate a medical issue, it is the typical indicator of a heart attack.You should seek medical help asap if you are experiencing severe nausea and chest pain.
  • Feeling sick: While not every episode of nausea is the same as a heart attack, concerns should be raised if you’re also experiencing pain. In case you’re experiencing mild discomfort without severe pain and experiencing nausea, you should consult your doctor.
  • Indigestion or stomach ache: A heart attack or associated cardiac condition may be indicated by a burning or indigestion-like discomfort in your chest or abdomen.
  • Sweating a lot: Breaking a sweat after working out at the gym or on a particularly hot day is not a cause for concern. However, having chest aches and feeling hot and clammy indicates that you need to contact for help.
  • Pain in the legs: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) may be indicated if you have a gripping, cramping sensation in your calves during a walk. Smokers and diabetics are most likely to have it.
  • Ache in the arm: Although arm discomfort is not usually associated with heart problems, it can indicate a heart attack. Heart problems are more likely to be the cause of discomfort if it radiates down the arm—particularly the left arm—or into the neck. If it persists or if you are aware that you have heart problems, you should get immediate medical attention.
  • Back or jaw ache: Pain during a heart attack may even be experienced in the back or jaw.If you are experiencing this kind of a pain, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Choking sensation: Individuals frequently speak of a “choking” or “restricting” feeling. Should the sensation persist and you have not been previously diagnosed with a cardiac condition, you should contact your doctor.It might be a sign of heart failure.
  • Swollen ankles: Swelling in the ankles shouldn’t be disregarded, particularly if the ankles enlarge significantly, as it may indicate heart failure, although there are numerous other possible causes. It’s advisable to schedule a visit with your doctor if your ankles start to swell.
  • Fatigue: Always feeling exhausted can be a sign of heart failure or other illnesses.
  • Erratic Heartbeat: You should consult your doctor if your heart is racing and palpitating. This might be a sign of heart failure.
  • Constant Cough: This typically doesn’t indicate a heart problem. Heart failure may be indicated by a persistent cough that generates pink or white mucus. This occurs when blood seeps back into the lungs due to the heart’s inability to meet the body’s demands.Consult your doctor to determine the cause of your cough.

Diagnosing Heart Failure

Your doctor will also ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. They will listen to your heart and look for signs of heart failure. And they will check for other illnesses that may have made your heart muscle weak or stiff. Your doctor may also order tests like these to find the cause of your heart failure and to see how severe it is:

  • An ECG, which measures the electrical activity of your heart
  • Stress tests, or exercise tests, are used to gauge how your heart reacts to physical strain.
  • Blood tests, which measure indicators of conditions that may impact the heart.
  • Catheterization of the heart to look for accumulation or blockages that may be causing your symptoms.
  • CT imaging of the heart to look for artery congestion

Risk Factors for Heart Failure

There are certain conditions and diseases that lead to higher chances of heart failure such as:

  • Coronary artery disease is one of the illnesses and disorders that raises the risk of heart failure. Heart muscle weakness may arise from narrowed arteries that restrict the heart’s ability to receive oxygen-rich blood.
  • One sudden manifestation of coronary artery disease is a heart attack. The heart may no longer be able to pump blood as efficiently if damage to the heart muscle results from a heart attack.
  • The risk of heart failure is increased if a person has a malfunctioning heart valve.
  • When blood pressure is high, the heart has to pump more blood than it should.
  • Heart failure can be brought on by irregular heartbeats, particularly if they occur frequently and quickly.
  • Some heart failure patients have underlying conditions that impair the structure or operation of their heart from birth.
  • Diabetes raises the risk of both coronary heart disease and hypertension.
  • Low blood oxygen levels and an increased risk of irregular heartbeats are the results of the inability to breathe correctly as you sleep, also known as sleep apnea. These two issues tend to weaken the heart.
  • Obesity increases the chance of heart failure in its victims.


To pump oxygenated blood throughout your body, the heart is a muscle that is always in action. The cardiac muscle may become weaker or stiffer due to several disorders that affect it. The heart beats inefficiently when this takes place. When the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, heart failure results. Learning to read the signs of a heart failure early on helps in warding off any casualties.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Prognosis for Heart Failure Patients?

Heart failure may not prevent you from engaging in your favourite activities with the correct treatment. The state of your heart muscle, your symptoms, and how well you respond to and adhere to your treatment plan will all affect your prognosis, or future outlook.

What is the course of treatment for heart disease?

Depending on your cardiac condition, you might need to take medicine, have surgery, or alter your everyday routine.

When should I schedule a visit with my doctor?

If you unexpectedly encounter any of the following problems, immediately meet your doctor pressure, heaviness, or discomfort in the chest, passing out, and breathing difficulty.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.


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