Patient Comments: Congestive Heart Failure - Symptoms

For congestive heart failure, what were the symptoms and signs you experienced?

Comment from: milojune, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and started having episodes of extreme dizziness and felt as though I was passing out. I went to the emergency room and after close observation my heart was pausing. They put in a pacemaker; but since then my legs and ankles swell terribly; I suffer from serious fatigue. The support stockings help some, but not a lot... I still swell badly.

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Comment from: Caregiver, 75 or over (Caregiver) Published: April 12

My mother is 84 years old and suffers from CHF. She is on two medications for high blood pressure and a thyroid medication (since removed) and high doses of Coumadin for recent episode of severe blood clots in her lungs. Her lips turn blue at times, even with slight exertion. I'm wondering if she would benefit from having oxygen in her home to help with her shortness of breath.

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Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: April 05

I had sharp leg pains and gained 40 pounds in a week. Also, I had insomnia and was waking up, gasping for air. I went to the ER and was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Fatigue is my biggest issue, along with dizziness. But the worst is feeling like I'm out of sorts and having the shakes. The doctor just looks at me like I'm crazy when I describe this. I don't know any other way to describe it. I sleep a lot because exercise gives me even small amounts of palpitations. It kind of sucks waiting on the government for a defibulator.

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Published: July 24

The 1st indication I had that I was experiencing CHF was severe loss of energy. A simple walk up a flight of stairs, and I was huffing and puffing, practically gasping for air. That's when a friend who happens to be a para medic, pointed out to me that my ankles were unusually swollen. I passed the lack of energy off on the fact that I was about 35 to 40 lbs. overweight and did not exercise. I was what you could call a lazy couch potato. I smoke about a pack of cigarettes a day, and although I don't drink anymore; I went through about 12 to 15 years as a very serious alcoholic. (1 QUART of Jack Daniels per day plus 12 to 24 beers). It was when my testicles got swollen to the size of a couple of grapefruits, that I went to the ER. The diagnosis was Congestive Heart Failure. I've been hospitalized 3 times since that fateful day, most recently for an infection on my lower leg that oral antibiotics would not cure. I take a lot of diuretics and am on a strict diet with my goal being to loose 40 lbs. I still smoke cigarettes, but have cut down substantially. The doctors tell me I won't die, THIS TIME!

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Comment from: SHARON, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 07

I was recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF). My first signs were severe loss of energy and endurance on job in nursing. Just extremely tired all the time. I had a bad day that I was vomiting for approx 12 hours and then chest pain kicked in. I took nitroglycerin and got immediate relief from both. Over a period of maybe 3 weeks I just couldn't do much of anything, exhaustion and extreme amounts of sleep. Still tired. An episode of extreme shortness of breath and lightheaded and chest pain sent me to ER. Admitted same night and diagnosed with CHF over 3 weeks ago. I went back to work part time but still can't do much at all on or off job. Probably the scariest medical issue I have ever experienced.

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Comment from: sue321, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 25

In 2002 I had four hours of morning vomiting, back spasms, severe headache and exhaustion. I had been treated for sinus infection and was on antibiotic during the onset of congestive heart failure (CHF) symptoms. When my lungs began to wheeze heavily, I remembered that the lungs can fill with fluid as a backup system for heart problems, so I laid down in my hallway and told my son to call an ambulance. This was the beginning of a ten day Myocarditis congestive heart failure. Not fun. It took four months to recover fully. However, today I have exercise induced "cardiac urgency" which was recently translated as congestive heart failure probably related to the Myocarditis.

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Congestive Heart Failure - Prognosis Question: What was your congestive heart failure prognosis?
Congestive Heart Failure - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your congestive heart failure?
Congestive Heart Failure - Causes Question: What are the underlying causes of your congestive heart failure?
Congestive Heart Failure - Lifestyle Changes Question: Have you made any lifestyle modifications including diet or exercise?

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