Heart Failure
Heart Failure

Heart Failure Symptoms

Symptoms of heart failure depend on the type of heart failure you have and how serious it is. If you have mild heart failure, you may not notice any symptoms except during hard physical work. Symptoms can depend on whether you have left-sided or right-sided heart failure. However, you can have symptoms of both types. Symptoms usually get worse as your heart grows weaker.

Heart failure can lead to serious and life-threatening complications.

The image shows the major symptoms of left-sided and right-sided heart failure.
The picture shows an image of the body and labels which parts are affected by the major symptoms of heart failure.

One of the first symptoms you may notice is feeling short of breath after routine activities like climbing stairs. As your heart grows weaker, you may notice this while getting dressed or walking across the room. Some people have shortness of breath while lying flat.

Older adults who do not get much physical activity may not experience shortness of breath. However, they may feel tired and confused.

People who have left-sided heart failure may have the following symptoms.

  • Trouble breathing
  • Cough
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness even after rest)
  • General weakness
  • Bluish color of finger and lips
  • Sleepiness and trouble concentrating
  • Inability to sleep lying flat

People who have right-sided heart failure may also have the following symptoms:

  • Nausea (feeling sick in the stomach) and loss of appetite
  • Pain in your abdomen (area around your stomach)
  • Swelling in your ankles, feet, legs, abdomen, and the veins in your neck
  • Needing to pee often
  • Weight gain

What problems can heart failure cause?

Heart failure can cause some serious problems.

  • Kidney or liver damage is caused by reduced blood flow and fluid buildup in your organs.
  • Fluid may build up in or around your lungs.
  • Malnutrition from nausea and swelling in your abdomen (the area around your stomach) can make it uncomfortable for you to eat. Reduced blood flow to your stomach can make it harder to absorb nutrients from your food.
  • Other heart conditions such as an irregular heartbeat, leaking heart valves, or sudden cardiac arrest can be caused by heart failure.
  • Pulmonary hypertension may also be caused by this condition.
Last updated on