3. Fatigue and weakness with reduced ability to exercise
Fatigue is the feeling of extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or, in this case, illness. Fatigue can eventually lead to exercise intolerance (the reduced ability to perform activity that involves dynamic movement of skeletal muscles). People experiencing CHF may feel fatigue and find performing daily activities, like climbing the stairs, carrying bags and waking, very difficult. Tiredness occurs when the heart is not able to properly function causing less amount of blood to reach the muscles and the tissues. The body carries the blood instead to the more vital organs like the kidneys, lungs and the heart and reduces the amount of blood reaching the muscles. The usual speed of the disposal of bodily wastes is also reduced, and this can also lead to fatigue.
4. Swelling of the abdomen and other parts of the body
Swelling, or edema, is caused by excessive fluid retention within the body’s tissues. It usually occurs in the arms, hands, legs, wrists, ankles, feet and along the abdomen area. Congestion, or the excess of fluid in one part of the body, can also happen. Swelling can be a sign of worsening CHF condition. Swelling in the legs and ankles are more noticeable later in the day because gravity increases pressure and the amount of blood in the veins in the lower limbs. Lying down and resting helps reduce the swelling. The fluid build-up is caused by the reduced blood flow causing blood circulating back to the heart to back up. Increased swelling in these areas prompt immediate medical attention
5. Increased need to urinate at night
The hearts reduced pumping ability greatly affects the performance of the organs, including the kidneys. Because the blood does not circulate the body at a constant rate, the fluids in the blood are pooled into the extremities causing edema (or the excessive fluid retention in the body’s tissues). When lying down at night, the swelling is reduced because the fluids congested in the extremities return to circulation. The fluids, in turn, are detected by the kidneys which produce more urine to decrease the workload of the heart. This event of excessive urination during the night is called nocturia.