Managing Fluid Restrictions
Last updated: February 2022
Managing your fluid restrictions is tough! I have come across a few tricks and tips. However, please realize that this is hard and there is no way to totally take that away. Having realistic expectations is key. There is nothing I can say to make it easy. Take as much time as you need to grieve, but get back on that saddle!
Tips and tricks
Measuring with a water bottle
I find it helpful to carry around a Nalgene water bottle to measure my fluid intake. I drink water from that and if I have anything else like a cup of juice or coffee, I pour water from my Nalgene into the cup. By the way, things like ice cream or liquid soup count as fluid.1
This process allows for a quick, easy, and accurate measurement of how much fluid I have left at any moment, which helps with accountability. In my experience as well, guesswork leads to errors. Probably because, and let's be honest, this sucks. I'd rather like to think I have more fluid left than I do.
Drink with purpose
So, fluids are a precious resource. Portion control and rationing are key! Everything I drink has a purpose and I must keep enough liquid to take my evening meds and if I'm thirsty in the evening. If it is a cup of tea, it is ginger tea when my heartburn is kicking up and the occasional cup of decaf green tea when I want to be healthy. When I drink coffee, it is one cup only!
If you do find yourself thirsty and running low on liquids to drink, I have tried sucking on frozen fruit. Frozen berries work well for me, and berries are low in sugar if you have to watch that as well. I have also tried brushing my teeth and keeping my mind active so I don’t think about it. Try easy stuff like watching YouTube videos that soothe you, reading a good book, calling a friend, etc.
Find things that you enjoy that you can eat. I love a dried apricot. Be aware though that if you are on diuretics, dehydration can be an issue. I cannot give medical advice, but I will say to call your doctor if things seem out of whack with regards to your thirst or potential dehydration.
Watch your salt
As mentioned above, watch your sodium intake. Salty foods make you thirsty. No way around that! My only suggestion on that front is truly, truly, watch your salt. It is tough but so many good things can come from being very diligent with your sodium intake. Things may seem bland at first, but if you can make it through the first bite your taste buds will somewhat adjust. It will not be like it was, and for that, I am truly sorry.
You deserve it
As I said, this is hard! It is helpful if you think about your motivations and have a visualization technique ready for when you need the motivation. For me, it is quality of life. Whatever it is for you that makes your life worth living - remember that! Talk it out with a friend or therapist. Print it out, draw pictures, daydream on future plans, whatever. It is hard, but keep up the good work because it is worth it. If it seems totally overwhelming, sad, or depressing, get help. You deserve it and there are people out there to help.
Besides heart failure, do you have any other chronic medical conditions?
Join the conversation