Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research & Training Institute

Heart Failure Symptoms in Men

Heart Failure Symptoms in Men

Human heart

Heart failure is a serious medical condition that affects millions of men and women worldwide. It occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently to meet the body’s needs, leading to a range of symptoms and complications. Understanding the signs, stages, and prognosis of heart failure is crucial for early detection, effective management, and improved outcomes.

What Is One of the First Signs of Heart Failure?

One of the earliest signs of heart failure for men is often shortness of breath, especially during physical activity or when lying down flat. This symptom, known as dyspnea, occurs because the heart’s weakened pumping ability causes fluid to accumulate in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe properly. Individuals may also experience fatigue, weakness, and swelling in the legs, ankles, or abdomen due to fluid retention.

Other common early signs of heart failure include persistent coughing or wheezing, which can result from fluid buildup in the lungs or inflammation of the airways. Additionally, frequent urination, especially at night, may occur as the kidneys attempt to eliminate excess fluid from the body. Paying attention to these initial symptoms and seeking medical evaluation promptly can lead to earlier diagnosis and intervention, potentially improving outcomes for individuals with heart failure.

What Does Stage 1 Heart Failure Feel Like?

Heart failure is typically categorized into stages based on the severity of symptoms and their impact on daily activities. In Stage 1, also known as the pre-heart failure stage or heart failure at risk, individuals may not experience noticeable symptoms but have underlying heart abnormalities or risk factors that increase their likelihood of developing heart failure in the future.

Despite the absence of symptoms, Stage 1 heart failure may still present certain signs that warrant medical attention. These may include elevated blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, or structural changes in the heart detected through imaging tests such as echocardiography.

While men in Stage 1 heart failure may not feel significantly different from their usual state of health, addressing underlying risk factors and adopting heart-healthy lifestyle habits can help delay or prevent the progression of the condition to more advanced stages.

Can Heart Failure Go Back to Normal?

Many people wonder whether heart failure can be reversed or if the heart can return to its normal function once the condition develops. While heart failure is typically a chronic and progressive condition, its course can be influenced by various factors, including treatment, lifestyle modifications, and the underlying cause of heart failure.

The Importance of Lifestyle Adjustments for Long-Term Recovery

With appropriate medical management, lifestyle changes, and adherence to prescribed therapies, some individuals with heart failure may experience improvement in symptoms and quality of life. In cases where heart failure is caused by reversible factors such as uncontrolled hypertension, heart valve disease, or certain types of arrhythmias, addressing these underlying issues can potentially restore normal heart function or prevent further deterioration.

Managing Expectations

However, it’s important to note that not all cases of heart failure can be fully reversed, and the goal of treatment is often to manage symptoms, slow disease progression, and improve overall heart function and quality of life. Even when heart failure cannot be cured, advancements in medical therapies and interventions have significantly improved outcomes and survival rates for individuals living with the condition.

How Long Can a Person Live with Heart Failure?

The prognosis for people with heart failure can vary widely depending on factors such as the severity of the condition, the presence of underlying health conditions, and the effectiveness of treatment and management strategies. While heart failure can have a significant impact on life expectancy, timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and lifestyle modifications can help prolong survival and improve outcomes.

Recent Advancements in Treatment

On average, the prognosis for heart failure has improved in recent years due to advancements in medical therapies, including medications, implantable devices, and surgical procedures. However, heart failure remains a chronic and progressive condition that requires ongoing monitoring and management to optimize outcomes and quality of life.

Median Survival Rate

Studies have shown that individuals diagnosed with heart failure have a median survival rate ranging from several years to over a decade, depending on the stage of heart failure and individual factors. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to improving prognosis and preventing complications such as heart attacks, strokes, and sudden cardiac death.

Understanding the signs, stages, and prognosis of heart failure for men is essential for early detection, effective management, and improved outcomes. By recognizing early symptoms, addressing underlying risk factors, and implementing appropriate treatment strategies, individuals living with heart failure can enhance their quality of life and prolong survival.

Heart Failure Symptoms in Women

Symptoms of Heart Failure in Women

The following are indicators of heart blockages that women need to be aware of:

Heart failure is a dangerous medical disorder that develops when the heart cannot adequately pump blood throughout the body, resulting in insufficient blood flow. Although it is a condition that affects both men and women, research in the past few years has shown that women have different symptoms than men.

This article will discuss early warning signs, the typical age of female heart attacks, and what symptoms indicate heart blockage in women. Knowing these things can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

What Are the Early Signs of Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive Heart Failure Symptom 1: Weakness and Fatigue

For both men and women, an ongoing feeling of weakness or fatigue can be one of the first indicators of heart issues. This is more than feeling this way after a busy day. Rather, these feelings can prevent you from doing your normal tasks.

Additionally, breathing issues, particularly when lying down, maybe a warning sign of heart failure. You might also notice that it’s harder to catch your breath during activity.

Congestive Heart Failure Symptom 2: Fluid Retention

Another common symptom of heart failure is fluid retention, particularly in the legs, ankles, and belly. This swelling often gets worse as the day wears on. Swelling like this is a clear indication that something is wrong, especially if it is linked to pulmonary edema, which is caused by – among other things – congestive heart failure.

An irregular heartbeat or palpitations might also signal issues with your heart.

Finally, new research exists that shows a persistent cough, particularly when it is associated with phlegm that has a white or pink tint indicating blood, may indicate an accumulation of fluid in the lungs, which may be a sign of heart failure. This cough is known as cardiac cough.

What Signs Should Women Be Mindful Of?

Women should not only be mindful of the heart failure symptoms above but also pay attention to where they feel pain and discomfort. While chest pain is widely associated with heart failure, women might also feel pain and discomfort in their neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back, or abdomen.

The pain can range from a dull and consistent ache to something more. If the pain is consistent and can’t be linked to another issue, it’s a good idea to seek medical treatment.

Also, women might notice feelings of nausea or have bouts of vomiting that aren’t related to an illness or something they ate. This is another sign of heart failure that signals the need for medical care.

What Are the Signs of Heart Blockage in Females?

Heart blockage, commonly referred to as coronary artery disease (CAD), might also look different in women. Additionally, the signs linked to heart blockages might also be different than the traditional signs of cardiac issues we’ve been taught to look for.

For this reason, it’s critical to not only pay attention to the heart disease symptoms above but also to the ones below to ensure optimum heart health.

The Following Are Indicators or Symptoms Of Heart Blockages That Women Need To Be Aware Of:

  • Perspiration: This is beyond the normal sweating that might occur during physical activity. This perspiration comes on quickly and causes you to sweat more profusely. Think of it more as a cold sweat.
  • Lightheaded Feelings: Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may be signs of an issue with the heart’s blood supply. If this happens with no indication of why, it’s a good idea to talk with a medical professional.
  • Inexplicable Fear: For no apparent reason, some women may feel anxious or as though something bad is about to happen. Often, this might be swept under the rug, especially if they don’t want to call attention to themselves, but if a loved one mentions feeling this way to you, ask them about the other congestive heart failure symptoms that have been listed.

It’s crucial to remember that women might not always identify or connect these symptoms to a cardiac issue. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the symptoms of a heart blockage in women might manifest during rest or regular activity, but in men, they typically manifest with physical exertion.

Average Age of a Heart Attack in Females

Heart attacks are common in older adults, although they can happen at any age. Knowing this, it’s essential to know that heart attacks usually strike women later than they do men, typically around the age of 70.

However, coronary artery dissection (CAD), which was mentioned above, can trigger heart attacks in women after the age of 55 with symptoms like the ones mentioned above often happening weeks before the actual heart attack. In fact, CAD is responsible for almost half of the heart attacks that occur in women of a younger age.

Final Notes

Early detection of congestive heart failure and comprehension of heart blockage symptoms in women are essential for prompt intervention and improved results. Women should take the initiative to keep an eye on their cardiovascular health, notice any strange heart failure symptoms, and go to the clinic to seek medical assistance or treatment when necessary.

Furthermore, leading a heart-healthy lifestyle that incorporates regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, and stress reduction will enhance cardiovascular health in general.

Coughing and Cardiovascular Health: Understanding the Warning Signs

Cardiac Cough  and Cardiovascular Health: Understanding the Warning Signs


Coughing is a common reflex that helps clear the lungs and throat, but did you know it could be more? There is research to suggest that coughing might be related to heart health, especially when it’s a persistent cough.

If left unchecked, this could result in heart failure. This article will review the link between coughing and heart problems, focusing on the symptoms of what is known as cardiac cough and the early signs of heart disease in men and women.

What Is Cardiac Cough?

One of the body’s natural defenses against irritation is coughing, which helps clear the lungs of mucus, dust, and other pollutants. Coughing happens because sensory receptors in the lungs send messages to the brain when they find something irritating, like smoke, dust, or mucus.

This makes the brain start the cough reaction, which removes the irritants and keeps the airways clear. When we cough, our chest and diaphragm muscles tighten to rid our body of whatever irritates it.

Regarding cardiac cough, the body is responding to pulmonary edema, a condition brought on by heart failure-related heart muscle dysfunction. This condition causes fluid to pool in your lungs, which your body tries to eliminate by coughing.

Symptoms of Cardiac Cough

It can be hard to diagnose cardiac cough from regular coughing, especially for those who struggle with respiratory illnesses or allergies, but there are a few indicators that should alert you to talk with your physician.

  • Worsening at Night: Coughing that gets worse at night and keeps you from sleeping.
  • Pink or White Phlegm: Coughing up foamy or bloody phlegm could indicate heart failure.
  • Cough Caused by Physical Activity: Coughing that starts or gets worse when you work out could mean your heart is under a lot of stress.
  • Heavy Wheezing: The inability to catch your breath, along with coughing, could be a sign of trouble.
  • Dry Cough: A persistent dry cough, particularly when you’re not prone to coughing.

Early Signs of Heart Disease in Men

Heart disease kills more men than any other illness, which is why it’s vital to know what signs to look for. Recognizing these signs may help prevent the issue from getting worse or at least give you the chance to take steps toward managing the condition.

Some Early Symptoms That Point Toward Heart Problems For Men Are:

  • Chest Discomfort: This is described as pressure or tightness in your chest.
  • Shortness of Breath: This isn’t related to shortness after working out but rather a feeling of being out of breath during normal activities.
  • Fatigue: If you’ve felt more tired than usual or notice you’re weak more often than not for no clear reason, you might be headed toward heart failure.
  • Irregular Beating: If you have heart palpitations or an irregular beating, it could mean that you have a heart problem.
  • Radiating Pain: This could be true pain or discomfort that spreads to the back, arms, neck, jaw, or teeth.

Heart Problem Symptoms in Women

Not that long ago, heart failure for both men and women was lumped into one category. However, it’s now known that heart failure symptoms for women might not be the same as they are for men.

Unfortunately, many of these signs may seem minor initially, with their true nature not being clear until the symptoms start adding up. For this reason, it’s important to be mindful from the start.

Some of the Most Common Signs of Heart Failure in Women Are Listed Below:

  • Shortness of Breath: Trouble breathing or feeling short of breath, especially when you’re moving around or sitting down, could be a sign that something isn’t right.
  • Swelling: Pulmonary edema might cause swelling in areas like the stomach, wrists, legs, or feet.
  • Consistent Coughing: As noted above, if you’re struggling with coughing or wheezing that doesn’t go away or have the signs of cardiac cough listed above, you should talk with your physician.
  • Nausea or Vomiting: You might also have a loss of appetite due to these issues.
  • Pain: Instead of chest pain, women often feel pain in their jaw, neck, throat, back, and upper stomach area. Unfortunately, this wide range of pain could be attributed to many other conditions, which is why it might not signal a heart issue at first.

Final Notes

While you might not have known the relationship between coughing and cardiovascular health before, now that you do know, you can watch for signs of cardiac cough. Along with this knowledge, understanding the early signs of heart failure in both men and women can help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

If you or someone you know has any of the signs listed above, it’s essential to take the next step and reach out to the doctor for more testing.

Can Heart Failure Be Reversed?

Can Heart Failure Be Reversed? What You Need to Know About The Role of Lifestyle and Medicine

3d illustration of human heart and cardiogram with mesh texture modeling on abstract futuristic blue background. Concept of digital technologies in medicine

Heart failure is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people around the United States each year. It’s a serious condition and needs to be treated to help curb some of the health issues it causes. Some of the symptoms people often notice that could indicate heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue and weakness, wheezing, swelling of the belly, fluid buildup, and decreased alertness.

Although it can be a deadly disease and can limit things a person can do in their life, it can be reversed with proper care and attention. Below are some options.

Weight and Heart Failure

As a person’s weight increases, it puts more stress on the heart and can even change the heart’s structure and ability to pump blood. Naturally, this leads to a common question asked by many who have the condition. Can weight loss reverse heart failure? According to doctors and researchers, reducing overall body weight can help to improve symptoms and risks of various illnesses, including heart failure.

A person who is carrying more weight than is healthy for them will find that over time, it can damage the heart. Because the heart has to pump harder to push blood, the muscle thickens. Those hearts can’t handle the change and may fail. Even relatively small increases in body weight can cause issues with the heart, which is why it’s so important to maintain weight for long-term health.

When someone loses weight, it helps them decrease the thickness of their heart muscle, which could help lower the risk of heart failure.

Heart Failure and Exercise

Can heart failure be reversed with exercise? Research from UT Southwestern Medical Center has found that exercise can reverse damage to sedentary, aging hearts. This could help to prevent the risk of future heart failure. However, it needs to be started in time to be effective. The researchers said that a good exercise routine should be started before the age of 65 when the heart is still capable of remodeling itself. As the heart gets older, it loses plasticity.

They found that exercise not only needs to be started before age 65, but people also need to be doing enough exercise. Two or three days of working out a week don’t produce good results. Researchers said that it needs to be done four to five times per week, typically in 30-minute sessions, not including warm-up and cool-down periods.

Exercise and weight loss can help to reverse heart failure when it’s started early enough. However, losing weight and keeping fit is not always enough.

Can Heart Failure Be Reversed with Medication?

The types of treatment options and medications that may be prescribed to an individual will vary based on the severity of the case. Some of the common medications that are used for treating heart failure include beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and Aldosterone inhibitors.

Beta-blockers help to block excess adrenaline production, which could cause damage to heart cells. ACE inhibitors are used to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Aldosterone inhibitors block a hormone that causes the body to retain salt and fluid, which promotes heart failure.

Once the medications are added to a patient’s treatment plan, they are also often required to go on a low-sodium diet. This will help the heart grow stronger.

In cases of someone who has extreme heart failure, the options for treatment are often far more invasive. They may include the addition of an implantable heart pump, which will help the heart to continue pumping blood. Another treatment would be heart reconstruction. Sometimes, the only treatment may be a heart transplant.

By incorporating various treatment methods, including weight loss, exercise, and medications, it is possible to reverse some of the damage to the heart, so patients can live a healthier and happier life. This will likely be a problem that continues to follow them. Regardless of what treatment options are recommended, patients will need to continue taking medication. They should also follow up with their cardiologist regularly to monitor their heart health.

Get Help for Your Heart Today

If you have heart failure or you fear that you might be in danger of this condition, it’s important to speak with a medical professional as soon as possible. The doctor can examine you and test your heart health. They can also provide you with medications and ensure you are healthy enough to start an exercise and weight loss plan. The best option is to always seek early treatment.

Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute

Researchers at the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI) are studying what causes heart muscle to fail and are developing therapeutic strategies to both stop heart failure progression and recover failing hearts.  CVRTI Investigators are experts in muscle gene regulation (Franklin), muscle metabolism (Chaudhuri, Drakos), muscle architecture (Hong, Shaw), and treating failing heart muscle (Selzman, Drakos, Dosdall, Hong, Shaw).  One therapeutic program involves using surgically implanted left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) to recover failing hearts (Selzman, Drakos).  Another involves a promising CVRTI generated gene therapy that rescues failing heart muscle, reverses the damage heart failure does to heart muscle, and improves mortality from heart failure (Dosdall, Hong, Shaw).  The therapy is known as cBIN1 gene therapy and is being advanced to clinical trials.