What are the causes and symptoms of heart failure?
Causes of heart failure can include:
Coronary artery disease (CAD)
Having had a heart attack (myocardial infarction, MI)
High blood pressure
Heart disease you are born with
Toxicity from chemotherapy or substance abuse
Heart arrhythmia (atrial fibrillation, afib)
Other factors that may affect the heart include smoking, hyperlipidemia (too many lipids – or fats – in the blood), sleep apnea, sedentary lifestyle, and stress management.
The first step in treating heart failure is to know the symptoms so they can be treated quickly. Common symptoms include:
Being short of breath
Rapid weight gain – 2-3 lbs. in 1 to 2 days
Unable to walk or do activity like you use to do
Unable to lay flat (sleeping in the chair)
Having trouble thinking or being sleepy
Having chest pain or tightness
Feeling your heartbeat fast
Having abdominal swelling or feeling sick to your stomach
If you have heart failure or experience any of the above problems, call your doctor. Waiting makes it harder to stop the problem and could lead to a hospital stay. A doctor needs to decide if symptoms can be treated at home, in the clinic office, or in the hospital. No one likes to go to the hospital but waiting often will make symptoms harder to treat.