Heart failure is a condition in which the heart muscle no longer works properly. This leads to an increase in fluid and blood volume within the body, as well as worsening symptoms such as: chest pain (angina), shortness of breath (dyspnoea), fatigue and sometimes sweating. Many people with heart failure also develop peripheral edema, or swelling due to excess fluid accumulating around the body’s extremities such as legs or ankles. The cause of these symptoms can be traced back to diastolic dysfunction caused by decreased pumping ability of the failing organ that leads to low cardiac output and overload on vasculature leading to increased capillary permeability; this causes both excessive extravasation into tissues and congestion resulting from impaired lymphatic drainage.
Symptoms typically worsen over time so it may take several years for you to notice changes if they occur gradually. If your doctor suspects that you have elevated BNP levels, he/she may advise further investigation before establishing a diagnosis of heart failure.