Congestive heart failure symptoms are frightening. Congestive heart failure occurs when, for some reason, the heart is not able to pump blood to the other parts of the body the way it is supposed to. Congestive heart failure may come on very quickly, but most of the time congestive heart failure symptoms come on slowly. At first, they are most noticeable when you exercise or exert your body.
The top five congestive heart failure symptoms are:
1. Shortness of breath that comes with activity. This shortness of breath may also come after lying down for a period of time.
2. Ankles and feet that become swollen
3. If the abdomen becomes swollen, this could one of the congestive heart failure symptoms.
4. Coughing that becomes worse when you lie down.
5. Relatively sudden increase in weight
Other symptoms include a pulse that is irregular or rapid, problems sleeping, palpitations of the heart, weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, reduction of urine output, vomiting, nausea, and indigestion. Congestive heart failure symptoms should be taken seriously and medical attention should be sought. When the heart cannot pump blood to the rest of the body, fluid may accumulate in the liver, lungs, arms, legs, and gastrointestinal tract which causes weight gain and swelling. These congestive heart failure symptoms are a signal that serious damage may occur in other organs.
In addition to a physical examination, a variety of tests may be used to make the diagnosis and monitor congestive heart failure. These include various imaging tests, stress tests, MRI, heart catheterization and a panel of blood tests. A C reactive protein test may reveal untreated diabetes or other inflammation that can contribute to congestive heart failure.
Congestive heart failure life expectancy depends on the cause. If an infection is to blame, the condition may resolve once the infection is treated. However, some chronic conditions like coronary artery disease require more aggressive treatment. Self management includes a congestive heart failure diet that is low in sodium. Avoid adding salt to foods, read labels for sodium content, and avoid most prepared foods because of their high sodium content. Monitor your weight for sudden increases and report them to your doctor. Lose weight if you need to. Congestive heart failure treatment may also include medications, surgery or implanted devices. If you have this condition, work closely with your doctor to have the best quality of life and longevity.