Heart Failure
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Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?

Heart failure is one of the most common forms of heart disease, affecting about 5.7 million adults in the US. Some of its symptoms are uncommon among the various heart diseases, while others are shared by many other conditions. Can you tell which is which? Test your heart failure knowledge here.

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Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
Question 1 of 10 Correct

You don’t have acid reflux and you haven’t eaten anything that upset your stomach, but you’re reaching for the antacids because you have a bad case of heartburn. Could it be:

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: It probably is just heartburn, but it could also be a sign that you’re having a heart attack. While they’re not the same—heartburn is caused by stomach acid creeping up your esophagus—they can often feel similar. Make sure you know the other signs of a heart attack and call 9-1-1 right away if you think you’re having one.

Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
Question 2 of 10 Correct

Your feet have suddenly grown, but you know you’re not pregnant. What is the most likely reason?

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: One of the main features of heart failure is a buildup of fluid, which often causes swelling in the legs, feet or abdomen. Other, non-heart-related causes of swelling include kidney problems and medication side effects.

Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
Question 3 of 10 Correct

Orange-yellow bumps on the the skin could be a sign of:

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: High cholesterol is often believed to have no symptoms, but severe high cholesterol can sometimes cause these fatty patches, known as xanthomas, to build up. Xanthomas most often appear on the joints, hands, feet and buttocks.

Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
Question 4 of 10 Correct

You’re having trouble breathing and you go to lie down, but that doesn’t help. On the contrary, it actually makes it worse. It could be:

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: This is a tricky one because a number of heart conditions, including heart attack and atrial fibrillation, can cause shortness of breath. Heart failure causes shortness of breath due to a buildup of fluid in the lungs. It gets worse when you lie down because gravity is no longer pulling extra fluid down to the legs and feet, so more can collect in the lungs.

Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
Question 5 of 10 Correct

You’re feeling off so you check your pulse. It’s all over the place—very fast or slow, but irregular, not the constant “thump thump” that you’re used to. It’s probably:

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: An irregular heartbeat is the hallmark of atrial fibrillation, also known as afib. A normal heartbeat starts at the top of the heart, moves through the middle and down to the bottom. In afib, those signals don’t move through the heart in an orderly manner, and as a result the top and bottom chambers of the heart don’t sync up.

Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
Question 6 of 10 Correct

Your spouse sits you down and tells you that you’ve been acting strangely lately and that you seem confused. A heart-related reason for this may be:

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: If your heart can’t pump enough oxygen-rich blood to your kidneys, the kidneys’ function can become impaired and there won’t be enough sodium in the bloodstream. The kidneys may also retain more water, which dilutes the sodium in your bloodstream. Not having enough sodium is called hyponatremia, and one of its consequences is confusion. Heart failure can also reduce blood flow to the brain, which can lead to confusion. Coronary artery disease, stroke and atrial fibrillation may all cause confusion as well.

Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
Question 7 of 10 Correct

You’ve had to skip your morning workouts all week because you’re just too tired, even though you’ve gotten plenty of sleep. This could be a sign of:

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: Fatigue is a common symptom of heart failure. When the heart can’t pump blood efficiently, the body has to pick and choose where that blood goes. That means that less essential functions—such as muscles—get left out in favor of vital organs like the brain. Fatigue may be caused by a very large variety of conditions—some benign, some serious.

Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
Question 8 of 10 Correct

Someone tells you that one side of your face seems to be drooping. It wasn’t like that when you left the house; what’s going on?

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: A drooping face is one of the signs of stroke. If you’re worried that someone might have had a stroke, act F.A.S.T.: Check his or her face for drooping, arms for weakness and speech for irregularity. If you notice any of those signs, it’s time to call 9-1-1.

Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
Question 9 of 10 Correct

That big dinner you were planning doesn’t seem so appetizing all of a sudden. In fact, you’re feeling queasy just thinking about it. This could be a sign of:

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: : Fluid in the mucus lining of the intestinal tract and a drop in blood flow to the digestive system both contribute to a feeling of nausea when you have heart failure. Nausea, like fatigue, is a symptom in a number of conditions, so no need to panic at the first tummy rumbling.

Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
Question 10 of 10 Correct

You feel a throbbing ache in your chest that seems to run down your left arm and up into your jaw. The most likely reason for that is:

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women. Keep in mind, though, that women are more likely than men to have atypical symptoms such as nausea, lightheadedness or pain in other parts of the body. Atrial fibrillation can also cause chest pain, but chest pain is a hallmark of a heart attack.

Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
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Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
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Is It Heart Failure or Something Else?
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