Watching for Physical Changes

Heart failure requires you and your caregivers to pay close attention to any changes in symptoms. If you notice something new, or a sudden worsening of a current symptom, notify the doctor immediately. Here's what to watch for:

  • Sudden weight gain - three or more pounds in one day, five or more pounds in one week, or whatever amount you were told to report. That's why it's so important for people with heart failure to weigh themselves every day - preferably every morning, before breakfast and after urinating, with the same type of clothes on, without shoes, on the same scale and in the same spot.
  • Shortness of breath while at rest, not related to exercise or exertion.
  • Increased swelling of the lower limbs (legs or ankles).
  • Swelling or pain in the abdomen.
  • Trouble sleeping (awakening short of breath, using more pillows).Frequent dry, hacking cough.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Feeling tired all the time.