5 early warning signs of heart failure

Heart failure is a serious disease that can lead to death. To promptly treat and prevent the disease from getting worse, you should know the most characteristic signs of heart failure.

Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, occurs when the heart muscle's pumping efficiency is reduced. It is caused by a number of problems such as narrowed arteries (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure that weakens the heart or the heart muscle becomes stiff and eventually no longer works as well.

These conditions are common in the elderly, and signs of heart failure can sometimes be confused with the natural signs of aging. As a result, people often ignore these warning signals.

So how to identify the most accurate symptoms of heart failure? Let's find out with SignsSymptomsList.com through the article below.

5 signs of heart failure you should not ignore

5 early warning signs of heart failure • SignsSymptomsList.com

To help both doctors and patients detect the early signs of heart failure, the Heart Failure Association of America (HFSA) has issued guidelines for rapid identification, abbreviated as FACES:

  • F – Fatigue (Tired). When the heart does not pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet the energy needs of the organs in the body, a feeling of fatigue occurs.
  • A – Activity limitation. People with heart failure often lose the ability to perform normal activities. Heart failure makes them easily feel tired and short of breath, thereby limiting movement.
  • C – Congestion. Fluid accumulation in the lungs can cause a dry cough, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
  • E – Edema or ankle swelling. When the heart is no longer strong enough to return blood from the lower extremities back to the heart, body fluids accumulate in the ankles, legs, thighs, and abdomen, causing swelling. This phenomenon also leads to rapid weight gain.
  • S - Shortness of breath. Fluid in the lungs makes it difficult for carbon dioxide (CO2) in the blood to exchange with oxygen (O2) in the lungs to become oxygen-rich blood and then supply it to other organs in the body. This leads to a lack of oxygen in the tissues. What's more, people often find it harder to breathe when lying down because fluid in the lungs can move up into the airways.

These are the 5 symptoms of heart failure that you need to pay attention to to check your heart health status regularly.

Tests to help diagnose heart failure

5 early warning signs of heart failure • SignsSymptomsList.com

In addition to the clinical examination, the doctor also performed two other tests to find signs of heart failure and accurately diagnose the disease.

The first is an echocardiogram – a simple, non-invasive imaging test that uses ultrasound waves to create images of the heart while it is beating. If the results show that the rate of blood being ejected by the heart is lower than normal when the left ventricle contracts, there is a high chance that the heart muscle has been damaged. Other signs of heart failure include abnormal thickening of the heart muscle wall and problems with the heart valves.

A second test in identifying early-onset heart failure is to look for biomarkers in the blood, such as natriuretic peptide type B. These markers signal that the heart is working too hard and need help and support.

After the initial diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor may order additional tests to find out the main cause of your heart failure. Based on that, they will determine the most appropriate treatment.

Medicines to avoid when having heart failure

5 early warning signs of heart failure • SignsSymptomsList.com

People with heart failure often have to take a lot of drugs together. However, some prescription drugs, when taken with some over-the-counter drugs and supplements, can cause dangerous interactions, making heart failure symptoms worse.

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This is a widely used over-the-counter pain reliever and anti-inflammatory drug, including ibuprofen, naproxen… However, these drugs can make heart failure symptoms worse by making the body retain sodium and water. .
  • Medicines to treat heartburn and colds. These over-the-counter medications are often high in sodium, which causes the body to retain water.
  • Herbal. Functional foods with herbal ingredients such as ephedra, St. John's wort, ginseng, hawthorn, angelica, and green tea have the potential to interact with some common heart medications.

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