According to the CDC, more than five million individuals here in the United States have heart failure. Roughly 50 percent of individuals who are diagnosed with heart failure will die within the following five years. Those are alarming statistics, which is why it is so important to become familiar with the symptoms of heart failure and how to manage it. Read on to learn more.

Symptoms of Heart Failure

There are more than a handful of symptoms of heart failure. Although one may not trigger an alarm, multiple symptoms should be reported to your health care provider immediately. According to the American Heart Association, here are three symptoms that you should look for and why they occur:

  1. Swelling – You will notice swelling in your legs, feet, ankles and abdomen. This is because the blood begins to back up in your veins, resulting in fluid buildup in your tissues.
  2. Fatigue – You will notice that you are extremely tired – more so than usual, especially after performing regular, everyday activities. This happens because your heart is unable to pump the right amount of blood for the body to keep up with your physical activity, which results in blood being pulled from your muscles.
  3. Difficulty Breathing – You will notice that you are having problems catching your breath or difficulty breathing altogether, even while at rest. This happens when fluid leaks into your lungs due to the lack of proper blood flow.

Preventing Heart Failure

  • Reduce Your Intake of Salt – For individuals who suffer from heart disease, it is important to not consume more than roughly two grams of salt every day. Too much sodium in the body will lead to fluid retention, which increases the risk of heart failure.
  • Keep an Eye on Your Weight – If you notice that you have gained several pounds in one day or even a week, then you may have too much fluid in your body.
  • Step Up Your Exercise Regimen – Exercise has long been known to improve the flow of your blood to your heart. Plus, it helps to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol at appropriate levels.
  • Don't Skimp on Your Medication – If your doctor prescribes it, then you need to be sure to take it. You can consult with your doctor to determine the best time of day to take certain medications to avoid being overly tired during the day or needing to use the restroom multiple times at night. Some medications that physicians prescribe to patients with heart failure include diuretics, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and statins, as they all help improve heart health in one way or another.
  • Don't Be Embarrassed to Wear Compression Stockings – Many individuals do not wear compression stockings because it "shows" that they have a problem. However, these stockings are a great way to help reduce swelling in your legs while also improving blood flow to your heart.

If you are concerned about your heart's health, it is important to speak with your family physician or schedule an appointment with a cardiologist, especially if your family has a history of heart disease.