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Tracking Symptoms of Heart Failure

If you have congestive heart failure (CHF), becoming aware of even small changes in your body can help you manage your condition. Here are common symptoms of CHF:

  • Fluid retention. You may notice swelling in the lower half of your body, especially the feet and ankles, or weight gain. Weigh yourself every morning. Tell your health care provider if you suddenly gain two or more pounds in one day or four pounds in a week.

  • Abdominal swelling or stomach pain.

  • Shortness of breath or coughing. Your heart can't pump as efficiently as it should, so fluid can back up into your lungs. You may be breathless, which can cause you to wake up at night. Let your health care provider know if this occurs.

  • Trouble sleeping. If you find yourself needing to use more pillows, or sleep in a chair rather than a bed to avoid trouble breathing, let your health care provider know right away.

  • Fatigue. Blood flow to the muscles may be reduced. This may make you feel tired during the day. Take time to rest and talk with your health care provider.

  • Nausea or loss of appetite. Not enough blood in your digestive system can make you feel full more quickly than usual or even sick to your stomach. Tell your health care provider.    

  • Disorientation, memory loss, or confusion. Fluctuations in the amount of sodium in your blood can cause confusion. If you or someone else notices this, talk with your health care provider urgently.

  • Increased heart rate or heart palpitations. You may feel like your heart is racing or throbbing. To make up for the loss of pumping capacity, your heart beats faster.