Harvard Heart Letter

Fluid retention: What it can mean for your heart

Fluid buildup indicates worsening heart failure. Learn how to spot it and treat it early.



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Monitoring daily changes in your weight can help you recognize fluid retention before you see outward signs.

The buildup of excess fluid in your body can take a variety of forms from belly bloating and swollen ankles to nausea, persistent coughing and fatigue. You may be tempted initially to dismiss this hodgepodge of problems as having little to do with your heart. However, they all signal fluid retention, which can mean trouble for people with a history of heart failure.

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