People with heart failure may feel constantly tired and have difficulty performing daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying groceries. Exercise intolerance and fatigue are often the most common symptoms of heart failure.
This tiredness or fatigue occurs because less blood reaches the muscles and tissues, due to the reducing pumping ability of the heart. The body diverts blood away from the less vital organs, such as the muscles in the limbs, and sends it to the heart, brain and kidneys instead. Fatigue can also occur because the body is not removing waste products as quickly as it should.
It’s a good idea to keep a diary of your energy levels on a normal day and after certain activities so you can monitor any changes. It’s important to remember that regular, moderate exercise is recommended for people with heart failure as this helps reduce the workload on the heart. However, if you feel your energy levels are decreasing this may be an early sign that your heart failure is getting worse. Increasing fatigue can also suggest other medical problems such as anaemia or thyroid problems. You should inform your doctor or nurse as soon as possible.