By Mackenzie Distad, EP-C, BS
ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist/Exercise Specialist
We’re right in the middle of Heart Month 2018 at ExercisAbilities and still striving to raise awareness on all things heart health related. Earlier this month, I wrote about the signs of a heart attack. Heart attack and heart failure are both heart related but two different things. Today, I want to talk to you about heart failure and the signs you may see as the heart muscle weakens.
Heart Failure is the term used to describe a heart that can no longer keep up with the needs of the body. The heart muscle is weakened and is not pumping out as much blood (or oxygen) as the rest of the body needs to function.
Symptoms of heart failure include:
- Shortness of breath (even at rest)
- nausea or loss of appetite
- chronic fatigue
- chronic coughing/wheezing
- high heart rate
- build-up of fluid in body tissues (edema)
If you are noticing any particular symptoms of heart failure, take action and contact a healthcare professional. Certain tests and scans can be used to determine if you have heart failure and what stage it might be in.
Though heart failure is a chronic condition, the symptoms can be managed and you can live a full and enjoyable life with it. Along with medications, lifestyle changes such as eating a heart-healthy/low-sodium diet and getting regular exercise, can help to control symptoms and progression of heart failure.
For more information on heart failure, visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org where you will find additional, valuable resources such as the Self-check Heart Failure Management Guide.