Heart failure

Heart failure: Belly swelling could be a sign – ‘people may not associate’ the two

Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot effectively pump blood through the body. It happens when the heart becomes too weak, often due to age or high blood pressure. Or, in most cases, heart disease.

Dr Gosia Wamil from Mayo Clinic Healthcare in London explained that a lesser known sign of heart failure is abdominal pain.

Ms Wamil said: “Some warning signs of heart failure are intuitive, such as ankle swelling, shortness of breath, chest pain, a heartbeat that seems fast or irregular and fatigue during exercise.

“There are other symptoms that people may not associate with heart failure.

“These include a persistent cough, abdominal swelling, rapid weight gain, nausea and lack of appetite.”

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When heart failure occurs, there is an accumulation of blood throughout the body, including the belly.

This is known as congestion and can cause swelling in the abdomen. Fluid buildup often begins in the chest.

If you experience any of the symptoms described by Dr. Wamil, it is important that you seek treatment, she explained.

Heart disease can lead to the onset of heart failure because fatty buildup in the coronary artery can raise blood pressure, which weakens the heart.


Doctors may also provide breathing tests, where you blow into a tube to check for lung problems related to shortness of breath.

In some cases, they may also provide an x-ray to see if there is fluid in your lungs.