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Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA 
Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms
Congestive Heart Failure
Causes and Risk Factors
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Treatment

Symptoms of congestive heart failure
While congestive heart failure (CHF) may not produce symptoms in the early stages, here are the most common:

  • abdominal pain, tenderness, swelling
  • anxiety
  • asthma-like airway spasms
  • bluish skin
  • confusion
  • dizziness, drowsiness
  • dry hacking cough
  • fainting
  • fatigue
  • feelings of anxiety
  • feelings of restlessness
  • feelings of suffocation
  • increased nighttime urination
  • lung congestion
  • nausea
  • rapid breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling in legs, ankles, feet
  • tiring easily
  • weakness
  • weight gain, from excess fluids
  • wheezing

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:

  • bluish skin (especially when feeding or crying)
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty eating
  • fast breathing
  • fatigue, excessive sleeping
  • sweating during feeding

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:

  • bluish skin (especially when exercising or playing)
  • changes in ability to exercise
  • lack of energy
  • passing out with exertion
  • poor appetite
  • shortness of breath
  • weight gain from fluid retention, puffiness
  • weight loss/lack of weight gain

Complications
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.

  • enlarged ventricle (s)
  • heart pumps with less force
  • heightened hormone levels
  • shortened frequency of heart beats
  • thickening of heart muscle

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:

  • decreased alertness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • fatigue
  • irregular heartbeat, rapid heartbeat
  • persistent cough
  • reduced ability to exercise
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling in the abdomen, legs, ankles, feet
  • weakness
  • wheezing
  • white/pink/bloody phlegm

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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Tags: Congestive Heart Failure, heart problems, heart failure, heart muscle, heart, complications, age groups, treatment, dizziness, alertness, swelling, Exercise, symptoms, sweating, sleeping, Anxiety, fatigue, ability, abdomen, attempt
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