Shortness of breath is a common symptom for many people with heart failure. You should monitor your breathing and be aware of any changes. For example, you may find that in a matter of days or weeks the distance you can walk before shortness of breath appears has diminished. You may also notice increasing shortness of breath at night and while lying flat. You may need more pillows to prop up your upper body, in this case to allow for easier breathing.

Shortness of breath occurs because blood in the body backs up in the blood vessels, which return blood from the lungs to the heart, due to the heart not pumping blood out of the heart effectively. This causes fluid to leak into the lungs, also known as congestion.

If you experience SEVERE and persistent shortness of breath, you should call for emergency treatment immediately. If you are experiencing increasing shortness of breath and tolerating less and less activity, you should contact your doctor or nurse for advice.