Fatigue and exhaustion may be signs of heart disease, not just growing older


Out of breath when you climb stairs or walk to the mailbox? Feel tired all the time? You may think it’s normal signs of aging. Your doctor – and your heart – may know better.

Fatigue and shortness of breath lead the list of the most common signs of heart failure. Instead of ignoring symptoms, talk with your doctor about recent changes in the way you feel.

Know the signs of heart failure

Our bodies don’t always give us clear signs that something is wrong. Signs of heart trouble can be subtle or build over time. It’s not always that crushing chest pain like we see in the movies when someone has a heart attack.

Unusual fatigue can signal heart failure. That means your heart is not pumping blood through the body as well as usual.

Unexplained shortness of breath or exhaustion also can indicate heart trouble. Ask yourself if everyday activity caused the same discomfort a week ago or a month ago. Lack of stamina or changes in breathing can indicate problems with blood flow.
Other signs that your heart may be in trouble include:

  • Persistent cough – frequent dry, hacking cough
  • Swelling – buildup of fluid in the lower body 
  • Weight gain – sudden increase of 3 to 5 pounds
  • Loss of appetite – feeling full or sick to your stomach
  • Confusion – dizziness, memory loss or feeling disoriented

Talk with your healthcare provider

No matter how vague it may sound, if you don’t feel right, it could be a sign of a bigger problem.

Your doctor has several ways to determine if your heart needs help. It starts with an honest conversation about changes in the way you feel. If you have a condition that needs attention, you may find that simple, noninvasive procedures, medication or lifestyle changes can help and restore your energy and feeling of well-being.

The earlier heart disease is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin. And that can make all the difference in your life.

Information provided by Goshen Heart & Vascular Center.