10 Things Every Heart Failure Patient Should Know

June 3rd, 2016
“Be aware of your condition- ask questions about your heart and your medication and know what you can do at home to help yourself the most. Learning about how your lifestyle affects how you feel will make it easier to make healthy choices.” Kristen Schloemann, PA-C, Prairie Cardiovascular

1. The symptoms of heart failure

  • weight gain
  • shortness of breath/li>
  • bloating
  • swelling in feet and legs
  • fatigue
  • muscle weakness
  • coughing, frothing sputum

2. Weigh daily in the morning after urinating and before eating or drinking. Notify your doctor if you notice a gain of two or three pounds in 24 hours, or five pounds in a week.

3. Take all your medications and do not stop any unless you consult your doctor.

4. Fluid intake should be no less than 48 ounces a day and no more than 64 ounces a day.

5. Sodium causes your body to hold extra fluid. The more fluid, the harder the heart has to work. Limit the sodium in your diet to no more than 1500 mg daily.

6. With the 1500 mg limitation, learning to read the nutrition labels is an essential part of managing heart failure. Watch the milligrams of salt in each service size.

7. Salt has 2400 mg of sodium in a single teaspoon.

8. All food has sodium in it. In fact, there are even some hidden salts in the form of things like MSG (often in Asian food) or baking soda. Do not add any salt to your food.

9. Even if you can only do a small amount, exercise will help you have more energy and manage your weight and your stress. We recommend at least 30 minutes a day or your doctor can suggest a safe level of exercise based on your condition and the stage of your disease.

10. You can learn more tips and get low-sodium recipes at the Prairie Heart Institute’s Heart Failure Support Group on the 2nd Thursday of the month. Open to you and your family at the Cardiac Management Center located in the lower level of the Herrin Medical Arts Building.