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Shortness of breath

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.

AN ANIMATED JOURNEY THROUGH HEART FAILURE

A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.

USEFUL TOOLS

Click to print these tools to help you monitor your heart failure

PATIENT AND CAREGIVERS VIDEOS

In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.

VISIT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE

and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers.

heartfailurematers.org is a European Society of Cardiology website

The heartfailurematters.org website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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