Heart Failure Symptoms

Heart failure occurs when a damaged heart becomes unable to pump blood effectively, depriving the body of oxygen and nutrients.

  1. Types

    • Heart failure can be either acute (short-term) or chronic.


    • Heart failure occurs when there is inadequate blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body.


    • Symptoms of heart failure include fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin color, and edema or swelling due to accumulation of fluid (especially around the ankles.)

    Risk Factors

    • Data from the Framingham Heart Study indicate that hypertension is a very common risk factor for heart failure. Another study of heart failure incidence found that diabetes was the strongest risk factor for women.


    • According to the American Heart Association, approximately 5.7 million Americans experienced heart failure in 2006. The estimated cost of heart failure in the United States in 2009 is $37.2 billion.


    • Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, reducing stress, and exercising regularly may reduce risk of heart failure.

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