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Warning signs of early heart failure
Recognizing and treating heart failure sooner rather than later may slow progression of this serious condition.
If you start feeling a bit more tired or winded than normal, it’s easy to write it off to growing older or being out of shape or overweight. But if these symptoms persist, don’t ignore them — especially if you also notice swelling in your ankles and difficulty breathing when you lie down.
These are all classic symptoms of early heart failure, which happens when the heart isn’t able to pump effectively enough to deliver blood throughout the body (see "The FACES of heart failure"). Recent developments in both detection and treatment may help ease the burden of heart failure, which is a leading cause of hospitalization in people 65 and older.
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About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
You might also be interested in…
Heart Failure: Understanding the condition and optimizing treatment
In Heart Failure: Understanding the condition and optimizing treatment, you’ll learn the mechanics of the heart, the symptoms and warning signs of heart failure, and the keys to an effective treatment plan. This report will help you understand and invest in the steps you need to take to keep heart failure in check. You’ll get guidance for monitoring symptoms, for sticking to your doctor's strategy, and for making heart-smart lifestyle changes.
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