Diagnosing Heart Failure

Video: Ejection Fraction Measurement and 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, take action and talk to a health care professional.

Symptoms to report to your health care professional

It can 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 could decide that tests and procedures should be ordered to help determine the nature of the possible problem. Imaging tests can help show your health care professional the structure and function of your heart's various chambers and ventricles. Blood tests can also reveal how much oxygen, electrolytes and other things your blood is circulating. All of this information can help clarify what in your heart is responsible for your heart failure symptoms.

Interpreting the results

The health care professional uses your test results to determine whether you have heart failure, as well as:

Testing can also suggest which HF treatments would be most effective.

Learn about some of the common tests for heart failure.

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