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Signs and Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is a sign of a weak, dilated heart, and occurs when the heart can no longer pump effectively.  Circulation becomes poor, and the organs and tissues become clogged with blood.   The heart fails to meet the body’s needs of adequate circulation.  It occurs most often in women after menopause, possibly due to high iron storage levels.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, supportive natural therapies, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure include:

  • Shortness of breath, that is worse upon exertion
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Cold extremities
  • High blood pressure
  • Paleness
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Abdominal distension
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain
  • Swelling of the legs and feet
  • Facial edema
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea
  • Cough
  • Decreased alertness

Later signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure are greater heart exhaustion, fluid in the lungs, sudden and severe shortness of breath, coughing up foamy blood-tinged mucous, and irregular heartbeat.

Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is diagnosed through a careful physical examination, as well as through some of these tests:  An electrocardiogram (ECG), an echocardiogram, a Ct scan or MRI, chest x-rays, ejection fraction tests, an angiogram and a stress test.

Books for People With Signs and Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure

The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Heart Failure (Cleveland Clinic Guides)
Randall C. Starling
100 Questions & Answers About Congestive Heart Failure
Campion Quinn

Success with Heart Failure (mass mkt ed): Help and Hope for Those with Congestive Heart Failure
Marc A. Silver
Living Well with Heart Failure, the Misnamed, Misunderstood Condition
Mary Knudson

Congestive Heart Failure Resources

General Patient Resources

  • American Heart Association

Learn about the impact of congenital heart defects, and tools and resources.

  • Texas Heart Institute

Article from the Heart Information Center.

  • Better Medicine

Information Including Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Causes, Videos, Forums, and local community support.

  • Med Help

Congestive Heart Failure Help Forum. This forum is for help, questions and support regarding Congestive Heart Failure.

Medical Resources

  • Web MD

Congestive heart failure information including causes, types, symptoms, and treatment.

  • Medicine Net

Read about congestive heart failure stages and symptoms like fatigue, abdomen, leg and ankle swelling, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, increased urination, nausea and more.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.