Which of my symptoms may be caused by heart failure?

Heart failure generates two major obstacles for the body: (1) the tissues and organs donít get enough oxygen (poor cardiac output), and (2) fluid builds up in the lungs and tissues. Each of these obstacles may generate characteristic symptoms.

Symptoms of poor cardiac output can include:

  • Fatigue,
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cool extremities
  • Diminished urine output
  • Lethargy

Symptoms of fluid buildup (congestion) can include:

  • Weight gain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing and wheezing (particularly when lying flat)
  • Swelling in the legs or abdomen

As you can see, since many heart failure symptoms are nonspecific and overlap with those of other conditions, they are occasionally misattributed to other causes (aging, poor physical fitness) by doctors or patients.