Symptoms of congestive heart failure
While congestive heart failure (CHF) may not produce symptoms in the early stages, here are the most common:
Symptoms of congestive heart failure in infants
Detecting symptoms of CHF in children is more problematic, as different age groups characterize different symptoms. Symptoms in babies may be especially harder to detect, since the normal growth of the lungs can keep CHF at bay from two days to eight weeks. The one commonality in children with CHF, regardless of age, is poor growth. Here are the possible symptoms in babies:
Symptoms of congestive heart failure in children
Once children move beyond infancy, symptoms change and are often connected to activity and exercise. Indicators of CHF in older children can be:
The heart is an amazing machine that will attempt to compensate for various problems. Unfortunately, the very things it does to temporarily fix itself will weaken it in the end. For example, when the heart is weak it pumps with less force. The ventricle will enlarge to compensate, so it has more strength to move blood. Heart muscle may thicken, or the heart may shorten the frequency of beats to increase pumping. Hormone levels to stimulate the heart may go up. Any or all of these measures may help the heart short-term, but over time they only make it weaker and less efficient.
When to seek help
If you are diagnosed with CHF, and experience a worsening of symptoms, or additional symptoms, your current treatment may not be effective. Contact your doctor immediately.
Even though other conditions share some of the type of symptoms associated with heart failure, one should not wait until an emergency to consult with a doctor. Warning signs of heart problems include:
Heart failure is extremely dangerous and life threatening. If you've not been diagnosed, the next section explains what people can expect from their physician when attempting to detect CHF. Learn more about what tests to expect and how to prepare for an office visit in the next section on Diagnosing Congestive Heart Failure here.
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