Heart failure (HF) occurs when the heart can’t pump blood to the rest of the body effectively.

Some believe that heart failure doesn’t have serious consequences and can be reversed, but this is far from the truth. Untreated heart failure can lead to a variety of complications, and low survival rates among patients with undiagnosed heart failure.

If you or a loved one are concerned about heart problems, and wondering what the signs of early heart failure are, then keep reading.


Early heart failure can present itself with noticeable signs and symptoms. Fatigue can be an early sign of heart failure, as the body struggles to pump enough blood to keep up with its needs. Patients may experience exhaustion at odd times, including after completing simple activities.

Weight Gain

Weight gain resulting from heart failure is caused by a fluid buildup in the body due to the inability of the heart to pump blood efficiently. It usually happens without signs and can be sudden, particularly in the legs, abdomen, and feet. A sudden gain of five or more pounds in a small period may be a sign of heart failure.

Changes in the appearance of clothes, inability to fit into clothes, and pants or skirts that are tighter are all potential signs of early heart failure due to weight gain. It is important to monitor any sudden growth or weight gain and consult with medical professionals to ensure the health of your heart.

Excessive Sweating

While sweating is a normal bodily function, those with heart failure may experience an unusually increased sweating rate or perspiration. This is occurring in more areas of the body. The sweating is often accompanied by other signs of heart failure.

This condition may be caused by a decrease in the heart’s efficiency as it works to pump blood throughout the body. When the pumping of blood is inadequate, excess fluid may back up into the lungs or other parts of the body, thus causing excessive sweating. Therefore, those experiencing excessive sweating should seek medical attention to determine the cause, as it may be an early indicator of heart failure.


Palpitations occur when your heart is working harder than normal or is beating too fast, or both. Common symptoms of palpitations include a fluttering feeling or racing sensation in your chest. Also, you are feeling like your heart skips a beat.

There is also a pounding feeling in your neck, and a feeling like your heart is pounding in your chest. If you experience palpitations very frequently, they can be an early warning sign of an underlying heart condition. It can be high blood pressure, leaky heart valves, or an overactive thyroid.

Long-term, untreated palpitations can lead to serious heart problems, including heart failure and possible cardiac arrest. If you experience palpitations frequently, then you must seek medical care.

Dizziness or Fainting

When the heart is unable to adequately pump oxygen-rich blood to other organs in the body, it can cause the individual to become dizzy or pass out. This symptom is one of the earliest signs of developing heart failure. Individuals need to make sure to report it to their doctor if they experience it.

Chest Pain

Chest pain is one of the most common symptoms of early heart failure. This type of chest pain is usually described as angina, a dull, chronic, or squeezing pain in the chest.

It may also be experienced as pressure, a sensation of tightness, or a burning sensation in the chest. It is most commonly felt in the center of the chest and is often triggered by stress or physical activity. 

Activity Limitation

Early heart failure can cause a decrease in the amount of physical activity a person can do. Activity limitation is one of the common signs along with general weakness and fatigue. Activity limitation can worsen as heart failure progresses, making it difficult to do everyday activities.

In this case, people should talk to their doctor to make sure they are managing their heart failure as best they can. Rest is important, and they should also take the time to get the necessary nutrients and exercise their bodies need to remain healthy and functioning. By following a heart failure treatment plan, people can reduce their risk of having significant activity limitations due to their heart condition.

Edema or Swelling of the Ankles

Edema or swelling of the ankles may be a sign of early heart failure. This is caused by a buildup of fluid in the soft tissue due to decreased blood circulation in the body.

As heart failure progresses, coughing can occur. Hence, it is very important to get more information on cardiac cough. Also, there is a feeling of discomfort in the legs, especially during physical activity.

Furthermore, edema can also extend to the hands and feet, swelling of the belly or abdomen, and sudden weight gain. It is important to recognize the signs of early heart failure, and edema should be taken as a warning sign that one should seek medical attention.

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath can be due to fluid buildup in the lungs or decreased ability of the heart to pump blood. According to the American Heart Association, if you experience shortness of breath while doing normal activities, this could be a sign of early heart failure. 

If caught early, heart failure can be managed with medication, lifestyle changes, and perhaps surgery. Early detection increases the chances of treating it more successfully.

Be Aware of the Signs of Early Heart Failure

Early heart failure is a serious yet manageable condition if diagnosed and treated. If you experience any of the above signs of early heart failure, be sure to talk to your doctor and follow their prescribed treatment.

Don’t forget, early detection and management is key to living a healthy and happy life. You must ensure that you give importance to keeping a healthy heart. So, take action and seek help today!

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