Heart Failure Symptoms & Tips to Remedy Them
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood and oxygen to meet the body’s needs. It usually happens when the heart muscle has been damaged or weakened.
A heart attack, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease are some of the most common causes of heart failure. When you have heart failure, your organs don’t get enough blood flow. This causes them to work less effectively than normal.

Heart failure symptoms lead to a backup of fluid causing congestion in your organs. This can make your feet and legs swell, or cause shortness of breath, fatigue, sleepiness and nausea.
The condition can affect some of the body’s functions—such as breathing or eating— because of the increased workload on the heart and kidneys.
It also causes fluid buildup in the lungs and body tissues, which can sometimes lead to high blood pressure or swollen ankles. But with treatment and sometimes surgery, many people with heart failure will be able to live active, full lives.
What Happens During Heart failure
To understand heart failure, it helps to know how the heart works. The heart has four chambers: two upper atria and two lower ventricles. Each chamber pumps deoxygenated blood into the next one in a series of steps known as the cardiac cycle.
This process begins when electrical signals from the brain cause the atria to contract and push blood into the ventricles. As the ventricles contract, they pump oxygen-rich blood out through the arteries that supply blood to all parts of your body.
Heart failure occurs when something goes wrong with this process—when your heart cannot maintain a normal rhythm or adequately fill with blood
Heart Failure Symptoms
Heart failure typically occurs when your heart muscle does not pump enough blood for your needs, causing you to become short of breath when you exercise or do routine activities.
Exercise tolerance is reduced in people with heart failure. In addition to shortness of breath, symptoms of heart failure may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Leg swelling
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Clinical depression
  • Anxiety and panic attacks

The heart is a powerful muscle that works like a pump, sending oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. If your heart isn’t pumping effectively, you may have symptoms such as shortness of breath, tiredness and swelling in your legs or abdomen.
Types of Heart Failure
There are two main types of heart failure:
1. Acute heart failure (develops suddenly and gets worse quickly)
This form of heart failure develops suddenly, usually due to a condition that affects the heart’s ability to pump. It may be caused by a heart attack, high blood pressure, arrhythmia or damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack.
Acute heart failure occurs when the heart isn’t able to pump blood into circulation fast enough. This can happen when the body has been suddenly deprived of oxygen, as in a cardiac arrest or major surgery.
It also may result from an underlying disease that causes the heart’s muscle to weaken and enlarge, or if there are problems with rhythm or heart valves.
The treatment for acute heart failure symptoms aims at correcting the underlying cause of the disease. Many people with acute heart failure recover.
2. Chronic heart failure(develops gradually over months or years)
A progressive condition characterized by the inability of the left ventricle to fill with enough blood and pump it out into the systemic circulation. Chronic heart failure is also known as congestive heart failure (CHF).

heart failure symptoms

Its main feature is swelling (edema) in one or both legs, which may occur when there is not enough blood returning to the lungs from the legs. The edema may occur throughout the body with severe CHF. Other signs and symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, general discomfort and poor appetite

Chronic heart failure occurs when the heart can’t maintain adequate circulation over time. It usually is the result of long-term high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy or other underlying conditions.

Understanding the Causes of Heart Failure
Heart failure symptoms can be caused by different factors, each requiring different treatments. Understanding the causes of heart failure makes it easier to prevent and treat this serious condition.
Diseases that affect the heart directly are the most common cause of heart failure. These include:

  • Coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy, which is a degenerative condition of the heart muscle.
  • Heart attacks,
  • Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias),
  • Infections,
  • Inflammation and
  • High blood pressure

Treatment for these conditions may include medications or surgery to improve symptoms or correct the underlying problem.

Congenital defects that affect the structure of the heart can cause heart failure in newborns and children. Examples of congenital defects include ventricular septal defect (VSD), atrial septal defect (ASD) and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).

In some cases, these defects close on their own as children grow older. But if they don’t close completely or new defects develop, surgical correction may be necessary.

Heart failure can also be caused by severe dehydration from diarrhea or vomiting that leads to rapid weight loss because fluid isn’t properly absorbed from foods and drinks into your bloodstream.
Treatment for Heart Failure
The treatment for heart failure symptoms varies depending on the cause and how serious it is. To treat mild cases, you may only need to change your lifestyle by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.
More severe cases often require medications, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or beta-blockers. In extreme cases, surgery may be required if you have severe symptoms from heart failure that can’t be managed any other way.
If you have heart failure, treatment can help reduce fatigue and allow you to live more comfortably. But it will also help prevent complications associated with the disorder, such as fluid buildup in your lungs or an irregular heartbeat. If left untreated, heart failure can become fatal.
Risk Factors for Heart Failure
Every year, more than 5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with heart failure. Heart failure is a serious condition that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body.
It can be caused by a number of different things and affect anyone from very young people to the elderly. There are, however, some major risk factors that can increase your chances of developing heart failure. Some of these risk factors are largely out of your control, while others you can change to lower your risk.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define heart failure as “the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.” Heart failure can be caused by damage to or disease in the left ventricle or other areas of the heart.
The risk factors for heart failure include:
The older you get, the more likely you are to develop heart failure. Fifty percent of those diagnosed with heart failure are 65 years old or older.
Family history
If a person has a close family member with heart failure, he or she is at an increased risk for developing the condition themselves.
Heart conditions
A number of different conditions can cause damage to the heart and result in irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and high rates of blood clotting. All these factors can trigger heart failure symptoms in victims.
Genetic Defects
It may result from inherited genetic defects or acquired conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary artery disease.
Lastly, heart failure can also be caused by severe infection, lack of oxygen due to lung disease or alcohol consumption.
Heart Failure Complications
Over time, heart failure can lead to other complications and shorten your life expectancy. Heart failure also is a major cause of hospital admissions in adults and one of the most common reasons for hospital admission among seniors.

Heart failure itself isn’t fatal but can lead to complications that are, including:

  • Fluid buildup (edema) in the lungs or legs
  • Damage to the kidneys
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart rhythm problems

Despite these complications, people with heart failure can live active lives depending on their symptoms and severity.
Final Words on Heart Failure Symptoms
Heart failure is a vicious disease with no cure. It can only be managed. If you’re suffering from heart failure, it’s important to engage in a healthy lifestyle that includes diet and exercise.

Heart failure can affect your life a great deal, but the symptoms are manageable. Learn the risks, educate yourself, and take charge of your health. By taking these steps, you may find that your life improves significantly.

It’s important to maintain a positive attitude even when you have heart failure symptoms because medical research shows that an optimistic outlook on life will help reduce your risk of death by 50%.