The heart is the center of life for the human body. It provides oxygen and blood to each of our organs. Heart health is imperative to living a long life. Many Americans suffer from heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. So, what are the warning signs of heart failure? Let’s explore some of the warning signs of heart failure and if they apply to you.
Signs Of Heart Failure
Catching the signs of heart failure early is essential to the treatment and recovery process. Some early signs of heart failure include:
Shortness of Breath
Feeling out of breath when going through your daily activities is one of the first signs of heart failure. If you get winded while doing minimal activity such as lying down, walking, or standing, seek medical attention.
Constantly feeling tired and weak without performing physical tasks is another telltale sign of heart failure. According to the Heart Failure Society of America, fatigue was the most common symptom reported among heart failure, affecting 90% of patients.
Swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, or abdomen is another initial warning sign. This can be uncomfortable, painful, and make it difficult to move around or perform daily activities. Swelling is caused by the backup of blood due to the lack of blood flow.
If you feel congested or have a persistent cough, especially one that produces white or pink mucus, see a doctor immediately. In most cases, this symptom is caused by the backup of blood creating fluid in your lungs.
Heart palpitations, or feeling like your heart is racing or skipping beats, are heart failure symptoms many patients experience. These irregularities in your heartbeat are often alarming, anxiety-inducing, and disorienting. If you are experiencing heart palpitations seek medical care immediately.
Experiencing Heart Failure Symptoms? Time to Get Checked
If you’re experiencing heart failure symptoms, it can be extremely distressing. Diagnosing the root cause is imperative to proper treatment and heart health. This is why early intervention and regular checkups are crucial.
Scheduling an echocardiogram (also known as echo) is a common way to examine the heart. An echo is a noninvasive test that uses ultrasound to take pictures of your heart while it beats. One of the ways an echo can display heart failure is by measuring the ejection fraction (EF) of the heart.
The ejection fraction is the percentage of blood pumped out of the heart’s main pumping chamber. With each heartbeat in a healthy heart, you can expect between 55% and 70% ejection fraction. However, in someone with heart failure, this number is most likely lower than normal due to the heart’s difficulty pumping blood.
Preventing Heart Failure: Taking the Next Steps
Even if you haven’t experienced heart failure, there are ways to prevent it from manifesting. Here are some preventive measures to take:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the number one way to prevent heart failure.
- Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fats.
- Get regular exercise; exercising at least three days a week for an hour at a time is advised.
- Avoid smoking, and if you are a smoker quit!
- Sustain a healthy body weight.
These lifestyle changes drastically decrease your risk of heart failure, as well as a plethora of other diseases.
Chronic stress can put additional strain on the heart and increase your risk of heart failure. Simple things like walking, yoga, and meditation are positive contributions to managing your stress levels.
Regular Check-Ups: BASS Can Help
Lastly, getting regular check-ups will keep your health and heart in check. Whether you are sick, need to get blood work done, or just want to make sure your health is in order, BASS has you covered. Reach out to BASS Medical Group at (925) 350-4044 if you’d like to schedule an appointment or learn more information.