Heart failure is a serious medical condition in which the heart becomes weakened and is unable to pump blood efficiently throughout the body. While the most common signs of heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in the legs, there are also some less common symptoms that can indicate heart failure. Keep reading as we discuss some unusual signs of heart failure and we also share tips to follow if you might be experiencing one.
Here are 9 unusual signs of heart failure:
1. Persistent cough
A cough that doesn’t go away or worsens over time can indicate fluid buildup in the lungs, which is a common symptom of heart failure. However, persistent cough can be a sign of various other diseases and infections and should be checked out by a professional.
2. Increased urination at night
Heart failure can cause the body to retain fluid, which then gets eliminated during the night, leading to more frequent trips to the bathroom.
3. Loss of appetite or nausea
A decrease in appetite or persistent nausea can be a sign of heart failure. The digestive system can be affected when the heart is unable to pump blood effectively.
4. Irregular heartbeat
Heart failure can disrupt the heart’s normal rhythm, leading to an irregular heartbeat or palpitations.
5. Confusion or impaired thinking
Decreased blood flow to the brain can result in mental confusion, difficulty concentrating, or memory problems.
6. Rapid weight gain
Sudden weight gain, particularly in a short period, can be an indicator of fluid retention due to heart failure.
7. Increased heart rate while resting
When the heart is struggling to pump blood effectively, it may beat faster even during rest or at night.
8. Persistent wheezing or shortness of breath
Wheezing or ongoing shortness of breath, even without physical exertion, can be a sign of heart failure.
9. Swelling or bloating in the abdomen
Fluid retention can also occur in the abdomen, causing swelling or bloating that is often mistaken for weight gain.
If you believe you are experiencing a heart failure, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention.
Here’s what to do if you think you’re experiencing heart failure:
1. Call emergency services
Dial the emergency number for your country, such as 911 in the United States, and explain your symptoms and concerns to the operator. They can dispatch an ambulance to your location.
2. Stay calm
Panic can exacerbate your symptoms, so try to remain as calm as possible while waiting for medical help.
3. Sit down and rest
Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, preferably with your head elevated. This can help reduce the workload on your heart and improve blood flow.
4. Take prescribed medications
If you have been prescribed medications for a heart condition, follow your doctor’s recommendations. For example, if you have nitroglycerin tablets, you may take one as directed for chest pain.
5. Don’t drive yourself to the hospital
It’s important not to operate a vehicle while experiencing potential heart failure. Allow the emergency medical services to transport you to the hospital safely.
6. Inform someone
If you are alone, try to notify a family member, neighbour, or colleague about your situation. They can provide support and assistance until professional help arrives.
Remember that the above advice is general, and medical professionals are the best resource for evaluating and treating a potential heart failure situation.