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Symptoms of heart failure

The main symptoms of heart failure are:

  • breathlessness (dyspnoea) when you're more active than usual or sometimes when you're resting
  • extreme tiredness and weakness
  • swelling in the legs, ankles and feet (oedema).

These symptoms are often caused by other conditions but they are signs that you might have heart failure. Your doctor may suggest doing some tests to see if you have got heart failure or to rule it out as a cause for your symptoms.

Other symptoms that might be associated with heart failure include:

  • being woken up in the middle of the night short of breath (paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnoea)
  • a cough that will not go away
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • lack of appetite
  • weight loss or weight gain
  • dizziness, confusion or difficulties in concentrating.

Last reviewed: September 2016

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