Signs & Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure

By Contributing Writer

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart does not pump oxygen adequately to the body. Congestive heart failure is generally a progressive disease and can be a disease that weakens the heart muscle. Many different types of diseases can impair the pumping of the heart. There are many drugs out on the market that help control and manage congestive heart failure along with a change in lifestyle.


Heart failure usually begins on the left side, in the left ventricle, which is the heart’s main chamber. An early symptom of congestive heart failure is fatigue. The ability to exercise may slowly diminish, and the feeling of being tired from doing everyday activities increases.


Having excess fluid in the body is another symptom of congestive heart failure. Excess fluid in the lungs causes shortness of breath, especially when lying down. Excess fluid in the body can cause nausea, decreased appetite and increased urination, especially at bedtime. The kidneys will be affected, and they will not have the ability to dispose of the sodium and water. Excess fluid can show up in the swelling of the ankles, legs and stomach area and other body areas. Sudden weight gain will occur when fluid is building up in the body.

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath can occur when exerting oneself while exercising. A persistent cough or wheezing can occur. When lying down, shortness of breath can happen because of the increase of blood returned to the heart. Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea is waking up in the middle of the night with shortness of breath. Some individuals cannot sleep unless they are sitting up.

Other Signs

Some of the other signs of congestive heart failure that can occur are blood in the stool, constipation, dizziness, sore throat, neck pain and lower back pain, along with headaches.


Some of the causes of congestive heart failure are high blood pressure or hypertension, alcohol abuse, disorders of the heart values, diabetes and being overweight. A past heart attack can interfere with the normal working of the heart.


Congestive heart failure can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes. One lifestyle change would be controlling one’s blood pressure. High blood pressure over time can leave your heart too weak to pump blood efficiently. Proper diet and weight control needs to be managed along with exercising, reducing salt intake and managing stress.

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