Heart failure also known as congestive heart failure occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. Conditions such as narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure untreated over a period of time gradually leave your heart to weak or stiff to fill and pump well or as normal.
Signs of CHF Shortness of breath, Fatigue and weakness, Swelling of your legs or feet, Rapid or irregular heartbeat, Reduced ability to exercise, persistent cough or wheezing, increased need to urinate at night, swelling of your abdomen, sudden weight gain for no reason no change in diet habits, Lack of appetite and nausea, elevated blood pressure, and even chest pain.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you think you might be experiencing signs or symptoms of heart failure. Seek emergency treatment if you experience any of the following:
Fainting or severe weakness
Rapid or irregular heartbeat associated with Shortness of breath, chest pain or fainting.
Sudden, severe shortness of breath and coughing up pink, foamy mucus.
Although these signs and symptoms may be due to heart failure, there are many other possible causes, including other life threatening heart and lung conditions. Don’t try to diagnose yourself Call 911 for immediate help. Emergency Department health care provider will try to stabilize your condition and determine if your symptoms are due to heart failure of something else.
When should you call EMS or 911:
When you think someone’s life is threatened. When someone faints or collapses. When someone has persistent chest pains of difficulty breathing. When someone is badly injured. When in doubt.
Credits Mayo Clinic Staff
Denise Nelson, RN
Health Coach, Adair County Health System
641-743-6189 Ext 299