Heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome of symptoms and signs that suggest impairment of the heart as a pump. While there is no cure, there are many interventions that will improve mortality and the quality of life associated with living with heart failure.
There are many reasons why a patient may develop heart failure. Common causes include high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart valve disease, disease of the cardiac muscle itself, and sometimes excess alcohol or toxicity from other medications.
Symptoms of heart failure may include:
- Shortness of breath (dyspnoea) at rest or on exertion
- Cough with frothy sputum
- Swelling of the feet and legs secondary to fluid retention (oedema)
- Difficulty sleeping at night – unable to lie flat in bed and night-time waking due to breathlessness or cough (paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnoea)
- Chronic lack of energy
- Swollen or tender abdomen with loss of appetite
- Increased urination at night
- Confusion or impaired thinking and/or memory
- Fast heart rate or palpitations.
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