Doctors use a rating scale to diagnose how serious each patient’s heart failure is. The scale, developed by the New York Heart Association, has four categories. The category of your heart failure describes how advanced and serious your condition is and also helps doctors know that they are giving you the right kind of treatment.

Here are the four categories and what they mean

  • Class 1: No limitation on physical activity. Class 1 heart failure is the mildest kind of heart failure. You may not even notice any symptoms.

  • Class 2: Slight limitations on physical activity. People with Class 2 heart failure feel fine while resting but, when walking or being active, have noticeable feelings of tiredness – shortness of breath – fast heartbeat – and/or chest pain.

  • Class 3: You can’t do much physical activity. If you have Class 3 heart failure, it’s hard to be even slightly active. People with this category of heart failure feel comfortable while resting but, when they move around, feel very tired and have a rapid heartbeat, chest pain and shortness of breath.

  • Class 4: This is the most advanced form of heart failure. People with Class 4 heart failure have symptoms of heart failure even while resting, and the symptoms get worse with activity.