7 Tips for Living with Heart Failure
It is human nature for people to want to give advice, especially when it comes to our health. Pretty much everyone has tips for different health-related issues. I took some time to compile a short list of some common helpful tips for living with heart failure.
Pay attention to your body/symptoms
Keep a journal and every day write down how you are feeling and any symptoms you are experiencing. Then take this journal with you to all of your doctors' appointments and show it to them. You might start to see trends that are important to share with your medical team.
Take medications as prescribed
Keeping on top of your medications is essential to treating heart failure and to keep you feeling your best. I keep all of my medications in the same spot and have a routine as to when I take them. It is also a good idea to set an alarm so you don’t forget!
Eating healthy is important for everyone. For some people with heart failure maintaining a diet that is low in sodium (salt) and low in saturated fat is essential. Too much salt can lead to excess water retention/edema.
Stay as active as you are able
This will look different for everyone. Not everyone is able to be as active as others and that is okay! Do what you can when you can do it. Take an easy walk in the neighborhood or even just around your own living room. Consider chair exercises if you are limited. Swimming is another low-impact activity that many can tolerate.
Plan ahead for both short-term and long-term travel plans. Whether you are going to the store, visiting a friend, or taking a trip across the country, there are things to remember. Make sure you have enough medication to bring with you and make arrangements if you should need a refill. Also, plan ahead by locating the nearest hospital or urgent care facility just in case you need it. Better to be safe than sorry.
Monitor blood pressure
Keeping a daily log of your blood pressure is important. If your blood pressure is trending high, it can make heart failure worse and medications may need to be adjusted and/or changed. Be sure to share your blood pressure log with your doctor on a regular basis.1
Open line of communication
Be sure to keep communication with your doctors. Most offices offer email and/or a nurse line that you can write to or call to discuss things between in-person appointments. Any new symptoms should be reported
These are just a few things that I have compiled for easy reference. As always, it is best to talk with your doctor about all of the tips mentioned here as they know you and your medical history and can advise further.
I would love to hear some of your tips that could be added to this list. Feel free to add them in the comments below!
Do you use exercise to help manage your heart failure?