Tracking Your Symptoms


When you have heart failure,

it is important to pay attention to your body and how you feel. You should know your usual or everyday:

  • Energy level
  • Weight
  • Swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

You will need to watch for changes every day. If your symptoms get worse, call your doctor. Do not wait too long, because your symptoms can become severe. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor even if you feel like it is a small change.

Remember, with heart failure, not enough blood leaves the heart with every beat. Because of this, some parts of your body may not get enough blood or oxygen. This can cause fluid to back up in your lungs and other parts of your body, causing you to have symptoms.


Important symptoms to note include:

  • Rapid weight gain: more than 2 pounds in 1 day or more than 5 pounds over a week
  • Swelling, such as in your feet, hands, legs, ankles, or belly
  • Shortness of breath, which may be worse when lying flat
  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness, even when resting

Keep track of any symptom changes:

  • Write down your symptoms so you can see any changes from how you normally feel. Use the symptom tracker.
  • Weigh yourself every day at the same time with no clothes on or the same clothes on. The best time is in the morning after you use the bathroom and before you eat. Make sure that you use the same scale every day, and that it has easy-to-read numbers. Write down your weight. Call your doctor if you gain more than 2 pounds in 1 day, or more than 5 pounds over a week. They will tell you what to do.
  • Measure your blood pressure and heart rate. If your doctor wants you to monitor your blood pressure and heart rate, it will be a part of your care plan. They will teach you how to take your blood pressure and heart rate. Most machines measure both. Use the symptom tracker, or even just a notepad, to write down your weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and notes about your symptoms.