Congestive heart failure
Signs and Symptoms
1. Shortness or breath during even light physical activity or while lying down. This breathlessness might cause wheezing that is mistaken for asthma.
2. Weakness and fatigue.
3. Dull ache or pain in the chest.
4. Need to sleep on more pillows than usual or to sleep sitting up.
5. Swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs.
6. Persistent cough with foamy, blood specked mucus.
7. Irregular or rapid heartbeat.
8. Feeling of abdominal fullness.
9. Weight gain from fluid retention.
10. Frequent need to urinate, especially at night.
11. Swelling of neck veins.
12. Nausea, vomiting, and or loss of appetite.
What to Do Now
1. At first diagnosis the disease.
2. Get plenty of rest. Later, as your symptoms ease, increased physical activity (with your doctor’s consent) will be very important.
3. Eat less salt; it increases fluid retention and swelling.
4. Don’t drink caffeinated beverages; if you’re having heart palpitations, caffeine can make them worse.
5. To make breathing easier when lying down, raise your head by putting a wedge under your mattress or using extra pillows.
6. Put your legs up when sitting.
7. Use elastic support stockings to control swelling in your legs. Ask your pharmacist which kind is most appropriate for you.
When to Call a Doctor
1. If you experience severe chest pain or breathlessness.
2. If you frequently become breathless and exhausted after mild physical activity.
3. If you gain more than a couple of pounds over a few days.
4. If you’re being treated for congestive heart failure and your symptoms get worse.
How to Prevent It
1. Avoid alcohol.
2. Do what you can to prevent the underlying problems, such as high blood pressure or narrowed arteries.
3. If you know you have high blood pressure or heart disease, follow your doctor’s advice about treating the condition.