6. Sudden weight gain due to fluid retention but lack of appetite and nausea
Experiencing sudden weight gain for people with CHF is common. If the CHF is causing fluid accumulation or congestion, weight gain is inevitable. Weight gain is also a normal happening, however, when the rate of gaining weight is rapid, this can be a sign of CHF. Weight gain due to fluid accumulation is completely different from weight gain due to a high calorie diet. Gaining 2 kilos (or 3 pounds) in 3 days or 5 pounds in 1 week is not within the norms of weight gain under a high calorie diet. Notify your doctor or nurse if you notice an abnormal change in your weight.
7. Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
Edema, or the excessive retention of fluid in the body’s tissues, is a symptom of CHF. The fluids are retained in the body because the blood backs up in the blood vessels causing the fluids to be pooled in the extremities. These fluids do not immediately reach the kidney and is not processed increasing the amount of certain substances, like sodium, in the blood. These substances may cause memory loss or disorientation of the person with CHF. There is also insufficient blood flow to the brain and may also cause confusion.
8. Persistent coughing or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
Coughing is common. They can be caused by allergies, asthma, bronchitis or other lung conditions. Wheezing may be mistaken for asthma but it has a different cause in CHF. However, experiencing persistent coughing associated with wheezing (a whistling sound from the lungs or laboured breathing) is a tell-tale sign of CHF. Occasionally, a thick, mucous-like substance tinged pink because of blood is coughed up by people with CHF or pneumonia. Coughing or wheezing is caused by fluid accumulation or congestion in the lungs increasing the effort for breathing. The fluid accumulation or congestion is caused by the backing up of blood because of the hearts inability to pump efficiently. Worsening cough or wheezing indicates deteriorating health and immediate medical attention is needed.