Heart Failure | Symptoms


What are the symptoms of heart failure?

Some people who have heart failure have few problems or symptoms, while others have many symptoms. The following is a list of symptoms people who have heart failure might experience:

  • Shortness of breath (perhaps when walking, climbing stairs or being active)
  • Shortness of breath when lying down
  • Lack of appetite
  • Waking up in the night, suddenly breathless
  • General tiredness or weakness, including the reduced ability to exercise
  • Swelling of the legs, feet or ankles
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Rapid weight gain (1 or 2 pounds a day for 3 days in a row)
  • Chronic cough or wheezing
  • Nausea

Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms, especially if you've had heart problems before.


Reducing Readmissions for Congestive Heart Failure by RE Hoyt, CAPT, MC, USN, and LS Bowling, LTCR, MC, USN (American Family Physician May 15, 2001, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010415/1593.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/00