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Heart healthy week–how to recognize heart failure

Many people have heart failure and don't even know it. In recognition of American Heart Month, we turned the week of Valentine’s Day into Heart Healthy Week. Each day, we featured one way you can recognize heart failure.

The first symptom we covered was shortness of breath. With heart failure, fluid can back up into the lungs causing difficulty breathing with mild exertion or while laying down.

The next symptom was a rapid or irregular heartbeat for no obvious reason. When the heart doesn't pump well, the heartbeat speeds up to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

The third symptom we covered during Heart Healthy Week was swollen ankles. This may be a sign that less blood is moving to the kidneys, which causes you to retain fluid and water, resulting in swelling or weight gain.

Lightheadedness or confusion, our fourth symptom, can also be a warning sign. Your brain needs a constant fresh supply of oxygen, carried in the blood. With heart failure you may have difficulty concentrating.

The fifth and final symptom we covered during Heart Healthy Week was fatigue or weakness for no obvious reason. If the heart is not pumping enough blood to the major organs and muscles, you'll feel run-down.

Have you or a loved experienced any of these symptoms? Speak to your doctor about how to take care of your heart.

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