Edema in heart failure: how do I recognize heart edema?

Weight gain is not always associated with high-calorie food or insufficient physical activity. The heart may also be to blame. Indeed, heart disease can cause a weakening of the heart muscle, as is often the case with coronary disease, heart attack or high blood pressure. In these cases, there is an accumulation of fluid in the body and, consequently, weight gain.

Edema occurs insofar as the blood coming to the heart is not sufficiently pumped for further circulation by the weakened heart muscle, resulting in a blood stasis in front of the heart.  Stagnation of blood can "roll back" to the stomach or legs and there increase the pressure in the small veins, followed by more fluid being pumped out of the blood into the corresponding tissues and edema is formed.

For edema, it is important to double-check the medications prescribed by the doctor, if any, because if the edema is not recognized as edema, but is regarded simply as the consequences of improper nutrition, it can lead to fatal consequences.  In order to recognize heart edema as soon as possible, people with weakened heart muscle need to weigh themselves every day. Cardiologists advise you to start "sounding the alarm" when you increase your weight by 500 g . At the same time, of course, it should be taken into account that many people, especially heavy, natural weight fluctuations can exceed 500 g, and then the critical weight gain is 1 kg or more. To put it more clearly: a bad indicator is the addition of 2 kg in 3 days. However, people who regularly weigh themselves can already judge which deviations in weight are normal for them and which are not.


In order to recognize edema as reliably as possible, you need to follow the following rules:

  1. Because of the natural fluctuations in weight within a day, it is very important to weigh yourself at the same time of day. It is best to do this in the morning, after going to the toilet and before something to drink or eat.
  2. In the future, you need to check the accuracy of the scales from time to time, you can use two kilogram bags of flour: first stand on the scales, holding these bags in your hands, and then weigh yourself again, but without the bags.
  3. When weighing, it is necessary to monitor the floor on which the scales are placed. If the scales are moved each time after weighing under the Cabinet, it is possible that they will show different values each time. Conclusion: the scales for control weighings should stand in the same place every day.

  4. Additionally, in order to study the pushing force of the heart muscle, it is desirable to undergo echocardiography. This procedure is painless and does not expose the person to harmful radiation.

    Translation from German and text processing And. Yegorova (aka_silikus)