Living with heart failure can be hard, but you can learn to manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life. Work with your doctor to make sure your heart is stable and follow these essential steps at home to feel better.
1. Eat Well
Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats. Cut back on sugar and salt. Eating too much salt causes the body to hold on to fluid, which puts extra strain on your heart. Try to eat no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day or less than one teaspoon.
2. Get Moving
Get 30 minutes of exercise daily. Exercise makes the heart stronger and improves flexibility and strength. Work with your doctor or healthcare team to know your limits and set a goal to get moving every day. Exercise relieves stress, boosts energy and helps avoid symptoms.
3. Take Medications
Follow all of the instructions for taking medicines as directed by your doctor. Heart failure treatments can save and prolong life, and improve the heart’s function.
4. Monitor Symptoms
Heart failure requires you or your loved one pay close attention to any changes in symptoms and notify your doctor right away if you notice something new, or a current symptom suddenly gets worse.
Make sure to check weight and vital signs daily. Use a reliable scale and ask your doctor what your target weight should be. Measure and record your blood pressure using a blood pressure cuff and keep track of your resting heart rate every day.
Tracking changes in weight, blood pressure, and pulse and monitoring symptoms such as shortness of breath and swelling are warning signs that there could be a problem.