How Heart Failure Feels

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HonorHealth - How Heart Failure Feels

A heart attack is your heart's way of telling you that it's starved for oxygen. It happens when an artery that feeds oxygen-rich blood to the heart becomes obstructed. Call 911 immediately if you experience the symptoms below for two minutes or more:

Common signs and symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath or decreased exercise tolerance.
  • Increased coughing.
  • Chest discomfort with breathing.
  • Swelling in the feet, hands or legs.
  • Weight gain.
  • Feeling weak, tired or dizzy.
  • Inability to lie flat.
  • Needing more pillows at night.
  • Palpitations or feeling like your heart is pounding or racing.
  • Getting up frequently at night to urinate.
  • Feeling bloated or puffy in the abdomen.

Call 911 immediately if you experience the symptoms below for two minutes or more.

Heart failure is a serious illness that can affect how long you live. By taking your medications regularly, keeping a low-sodium (salt) diet, checking your morning weight and routine physician follow-up, you can improve your lifestyle.

Heart failure risk factors and possible causes:

  • Heart attack.
  • Coronary artery disease (clogged arteries of the heart).
  • An enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy).
  • High blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Heart valve disease.
  • A slow, fast or uneven heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
  • Diabetes.
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the outside of the heart).
  • Virus or infection of the heart muscle.
  • Congenital heart disease (a heart problem you're born with).
  • Long-term alcohol abuse, which can damage the heart.
  • Illegal drug abuse (including methamphetamines).
  • Side effects of toxic medications (ie, chemotherapy).
  • Not taking your blood pressure medications can make your heart tired and weak.

Sometimes the cause of heart failure may be unknown.

To learn more about the health of your heart, attend one of our screenings or events.