Heart Failure Symptoms along with Diagnosis, Treatment and a few helpful tips

Heart failure or congestive heart failure is a condition in which case your heart can`t pump enough oxygen rich blood to your body. When your heart function is decreased then your ejection fraction(E.F) is probably very low. Normal ejection fraction is between 55-70 %. Low is from 40 to 50 % and anything below 40 % is considered very low and life threatening.

Causes of heart failure besides long-term alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise also include other heart diseases. This includes high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and other other conditions of cardiovascular system which over time, negatively affects your heart that in the end leads to heart failure.

Also nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, certain syntetic hormones, drugs and too much sodium, such as salt can make the condition worse.


  • Shortness of breath is one of the main symptoms. It is caused by accumulated fluid in the lungs. especially during the exercise or while lying flat. If you ever wake up at night, gasping for air, see a doctor as soon as possible because it is a big possibility it is caused by heart failure.
  • Edema or swelling is also a common symptom. It can be noticed in the legs, ankles, face, abdomen or arms. It is caused by accumulated fluid in the body which can lead to increased urination.
  • Fatigue can be causesed by many conditions, including heart failure because blood pumps less and less of nutrient rich blood to your body which lowers your energy levels. You may or may not notice that your level of intensity and length of activities during exercising or playing sports, decreases.
  • Other symptoms include insomnia, nausea, decreased appetite, coughing and abdominal pain.

    Heart failure is primary diagnosed through physical examination taking into account the symptoms and medical history of the patient, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, previous heart attacks or coronary artery disease. After the initial physical examination the doctor will order additional test. This can include various laboratory tests, electrocardiogram(ECG), chest x-ray or heart ultrasound test.

    Treatment of heart failure includes several medications, in some cases pacemakers or surgery and as final solution, heart transplant. Diuretics or water increase the urination and thereby decrease the amount of water in your body which relieves the symptoms such as shortness of breath and swelling.

    Treatment also includes several heart pressure medications such as ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers as well as digitalis(Digoxin). The goal of this drugs is to improve the function of the heart thereby reliving the symptoms of heart failure.

    Prognosis of the disease depends on many factors but mostly to the degree of damage that heart has endured as well as the general state of the individual and its age. While heart failure can have deadly consequences with the right treatment and healthy lifestyle modifications, people can expect good quality of their life with a normal life span.


    Although heart failure is a life threatening condition if you recognize the symptoms on time, you can receive the right treatment and prevent further damage to your heart. Also, monitoring your water intake and output, implementing healthy diet and restricting sodium can be very helpfull.

    When it comes to exercise, doctors have conflicting opinions. Scientist have proved that although at first, exercise seemed counter productive, eventually they realized that it can be beneficial to your heart in this case. The thing is, you can`t start exercising until your heart is healed to some degree. Now, your first exercise should be just walking.

    Later on, you can include brisk walking and eventually light jogging into your schedule, when you see fit. Slowly and carefully work your way up.

    Since heart failure is in many cases caused by low ejection fraction, increasing it can relieve the symptoms of the disease and improve condition of the heart. While there are some drugs that do just that, they are also some supplements and herbs such as Coenzyme Q10 and Hawthorn which can possibly increase ejection fraction.

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