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Can Cough Indicate A Signal for Heart Failure?

By Dr. Amit Malik in Cardiac Sciences

Nov 08 , 2020 | 2 min read

Most of the cough signs are often associated with the issues related to lungs. However, not many people know that a chronic cough is also an indication of heart failure.

At times, people who suffer from heart failure experience a persistent cough that can also contain some blood. This mostly occurs when the heart failure progresses to advance stage. To ensure a healthy and safe life, people must know whether their chronic cough is an indication of heart failure and if yes then what are the steps they need to take. Here is all one needs to know about the connection between cough and heart failure.

What is Heart Failure?

Also known as congestive heart failure, this medical condition occurs when heart muscles are not able to pump blood properly. This is a chronic and progressive heart complication which is usually caused by conditions such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, heart valve disease among others.

The Connection between Cough and Heart Failure

An issue that comes up with the weak functioning of the heart muscle is congestion in lungs. This happens when the blood returning to the heart from the lungs tends to back up, which can lead to a situation where the fluid can leak into the airspace (alveoli) of the lungs. This congestion then results in a cough.

A cough that is associated with heart failure can be accompanied by heavy wheezing and labored breathing. In advance stage patients cough with frothy sputum and some tings of blood. It can   Dr. Amit Malik, Principal Consultant, Interventional Cardiology - Electrophysiology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali mentions below few  signs that the patient may experience like:

  • Shortness of breath on effort
  • Swelling around ankle
  • Breathlessness on lying down and cough

Such chronic cardiac cough can indicate that the heart failure is gradually worsening, and the patient must seek medical attention for timely treatment.

There is one more thing patients need to keep in mind:

Coughing is not always a sign of heart failure; it can also be a side effect of the medications that are usually prescribed for heart failure. However, the cough that occurs as a side-effect is annoyingly dry, with throat irritation.

To be able to understand this distinction in a cough, one can ask a cardiologist and clear their doubts. We, at Max Healthcare, the best heart hospital in Delhi offer world-class cardiac treatment to our patients. Our best cardiologists in Delhi not only focus on the treatment but also guide the patients about the treatment and the side-effects of the medications if there are any. At times, some people are not even sure if they are experiencing heart attack symptoms or heart failure symptoms. Our trusted professionals also clear these doubts and spread awareness among the patients.

Some Other Symptoms

Other than coughing, the following symptoms can also indicate heart failure:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Loss of appetite and nausea
  • Rapid weight gain due to fluid retention
  • Increased urination at night

In case a person experiences the symptoms mentioned above along with a persistent cough, they should consult a doctor instead of self-speculating about the possible health complication.

A cardiac cough is usually a sign that the heart failure is worsening and the best thing a patient can do to avoid a fatal situation is to get the appropriate treatment on time and start focusing on a healthy lifestyle to avoid cardiac arrest symptoms.