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What is heart failure and how is it related to breathing issues?

ANSWER

Even though “failure” is in the name, heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart stops beating. It means that it’s weak. Shortness of breath and feeling tired can be signs of the condition. Often people also have swelling in their ankles, feet, legs, and mid-section because the heart is not strong enough to pump blood properly.

In the early stages of heart failure, you may have trouble breathing after exercise, getting dressed, or walking across a room. As the heart weakens, you may feel breathless even when you lie down. See your doctor if that’s happening to you. She can recommend medicines and treatments that can help.

SOURCES:

Johns Hopkins Medicine Heart & Vascular Institute: “Shortness of Breath.”

NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure?”

European Society for Cardiology: “Understanding Heart Failure—Shortness of Breath.”

American Heart Association: “Tachycardia/Fast Heart Rate.”

Mayo Clinic: “Pulmonary Edema, Definition”  “Pulmonary Edema, Causes,”  “Pulmonary Edema, Symptoms,”  “Cardiomyopathy.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on August 12, 2018

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

SOURCES:

Johns Hopkins Medicine Heart & Vascular Institute: “Shortness of Breath.”

NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure?”

European Society for Cardiology: “Understanding Heart Failure—Shortness of Breath.”

American Heart Association: “Tachycardia/Fast Heart Rate.”

Mayo Clinic: “Pulmonary Edema, Definition”  “Pulmonary Edema, Causes,”  “Pulmonary Edema, Symptoms,”  “Cardiomyopathy.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on August 12, 2018

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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