With chronic heart failure, the pumping power of the heart gradually declines. The first symptoms of cardiac insufficiency are declining performance as well as shortness of breath and weight gain. Acute heart failure is more dramatic. Your board-certified cardiologist in Plano, TX, treats heart disease and other conditions. Here are the signs of heart disease you need to look out for.
It Usually Begins Gradually But With Harmful Effects
When the heart is weak, organs such as the brain, muscles, and kidneys are no longer optimally supplied with blood, oxygen, and nutrients. This has consequences that can be ultimately life-threatening.
The first symptoms of chronic heart disease are a decline in performance which you can note when participating in sports, climbing stairs, or hiking in the mountains. You will get exhausted more quickly, experience shortness of breath, and have more breaks.
Most people dismiss these first symptoms and assume they are temporary signs of exhaustion or aging. Unfortunately, it can be fatal because heart disease quickly progresses, and symptoms become unbearable if left untreated.
If heart failure is detected and treated early, the course of the disease can be slowed down, which can improve your quality of life.
Difficulty Breathing Is a Typical Sign
At the onset of the disease, the first symptom is shortness of breath when walking, climbing stairs, or hiking. However, as the disease progresses, you will experience these episodes even when seated.
Severe shortness of breath at rest is the decisive sign that chronic heart failure is developing into pulmonary edema, where fluid fills your lungs. In addition, liquid or foam may leak out when you cough. This condition is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
Water Retention and Weight Gain Are Other Signs
If your heart is weak, the heart muscle can no longer pump enough blood into the circulation, and the veins are backlogged. As a result, water collects in the tissue, and edema forms. Subsequently, these show up as swelling, especially in your feet and ankles.
Water retention leads to weight gain, often within a short time. Edema is a typical symptom of progressive heart failure.
In addition to the symptoms mentioned, you may also experience palpitations during exercise, accelerated breath, rattling noises when coughing, and cold fingers or feet. You may also feel dizzy and have the urge to urinate.
Symptoms Can Occur Within Minutes in Acute Heart Failure
In contrast to chronic heart failure, the symptoms of acute heart failure may occur suddenly within minutes or hours. It is an emergency that requires urgent medical attention.
Do Not Underestimate the Symptoms Even in Old Age
Older people, in particular, often do not take the first symptoms of heart failure seriously. Signs such as declining performance, tiredness, or edema in the ankles are dismissed as signs of old age. It can be fatal because the disease progresses untreated and unnecessarily restricts your quality of life.
Individuals with heart disease can get treated early after a proper diagnosis. Contact the Heart and Vascular Care specialists who will conduct a comprehensive assessment and recommend the best treatment.