Diagnosing Heart Failure
First steps for getting diagnosed
It's always important to have regular checkups even if you're not noticing any particular symptoms. If you do notice any of the potential signs of heart failure (HF), take action and talk to a healthcare professional.
Symptoms to report to your doctor
It may be appropriate to begin testing for heart failure if you or a family member has any of the potential signs of heart failure, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Buildup of excess fluid in body tissues (edema)
- Unusual fatigue
- Lack of appetite or nausea
- Impaired thinking
- Increased heart rate
Testing can provide insights
After an examination, your doctor may decide that tests and procedures should be ordered to help determine the nature of the possible problem. For example, testing can reveal if your heart's larger lower chambers, the ventricles, are responsible for your heart failure symptoms. These chambers may have lost some of their power to pump blood, or their ability to relax and fill with blood.
Interpreting the results
The doctor uses your test results to determine whether you have heart failure, as well as:
- The type of heart failure
- The class of heart failure
- Your degree of severity
Testing can also suggest which HF treatments would be most effective.
Learn about some of the common tests for heart failure.