Heart Failure Symptoms
It is all about Fluid Congestion
As your heart becomes less efficient as a pump it results in diminished blood flow to your body. Your kidneys will try to compensate for it by water retention causing extra fluid build-up, which results in pooling and congestion in different parts of your body:
Pooling will cause:
- In your lungs, shortness of breath especially when laying flat
- Swollen Ankles or Legs
- Weight Gain
Reduced pumping of blood to your other organs means they will not get the “energy supply” to do their work. This causes:
- Diminished exercise capacity
- Easy fatigue
- Loss of appetite
Patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) may have an associated problem of anemia, a decrease in the number of red blood cells, the component of blood that carries oxygen. Even by itself, anemia can cause symptoms of shortness of breath and fatigue, similar to the symptoms of heart failure. A low blood count limits the amount of oxygen being carried to the body, which makes the heart work harder. In fact, as the severity of CHF progresses, the findings of anemia increase; and severe anemia due to any cause can worsen CHF. Because of this relationship, anemia treatment may be an important part of CHF.
Two medications, erythropoietin and darbepoetin alfa, stimulate RBC growth and production in the bone marrow. These medicines require being given by a shot (like insulin) usually every 1-4 weeks. This can help people with heart failure correct their anemia, when it is due to inadequate bone marrow production.
In general, severe anemia may also be treated with vitamins or blood transfusions.