Heart Failure Symptoms and Diagnosis

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 Family Physician, discusses Heart Failure Symptoms and Diagnosis

 Family Physician, discusses Heart Failure Symptoms and Diagnosis

Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Daniel Ngui, BSc (P.T), MD, CFPC, FCFP
,Heart Failure Symptoms and Diagnosis
Duration: 2 minutes, 31 seconds

Heart disease is a chronic condition that you and your family physician can work on.

Heart failure is when you have your pump of your heart not working well, and backing up into the system, causing symptoms. The reason why it’s so important that you speak to your physician or healthcare provider, chronic disease nurse or pharmacist about heart failure is that there are big problems.

In fact, in Canada there’s over 500,000 Canadians living with heart failure each year. In the United States that’s five million, and once you have heart failure it means a big change to your quality of life, and your risk for mortality.

What we know is that once you have heart failure, your mortality rate is about 10 percent per year, and if you look over the five years, four or five out of 10 patients will succumb to heart failure. You may have several symptoms that you’re wondering about that come out of the blue or you may have been recently discharged from hospital, or your physician may have ordered some tests to diagnose heart failure.

As a patient, you’re an important partner to pick up on heart failure symptoms to prevent flare-ups from affecting you. The symptoms you should look out for include shortness of breath at rest, shortness of breath when you exert yourself. For example, some patients have an irregular heart beat, or swelling appears in their hands or in their legs. It’s important to notice all these things including bloating and fatigue or feeling that something’s not just right.

Many patients present with typical symptoms such as difficulty lying flat when they sleep at night because of breathlessness or waking suddenly with a short of breath feeling. These are all signs of heart failure.

The patients who are at most risk for heart failure are patients who are older, who have chronic medical problems or suffered an event such as a heart attack or a stroke. It’s very important that you don’t use one symptom, but a constellation of symptoms, and a pattern that seems to appear and last for several days. When in doubt, the most important thing is to follow up with your physician.

It’s important if you have any questions or any concerns, that you make an appointment to speak to your physician or your local expert. Treatments vary according to patient as well as physician, so once again, make an appointment and speak to your physician.

Presenter: Dr. Daniel Ngui, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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