The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

My health partner
About taking control

Living

with heart failure

How should heart failure be managed?​

  • There are lots of medicines that you may be given.1
  • They can help to keep your symptoms under control and improve your quality of life. Not all medicines are needed by every person with heart failure. Which medicines are right for you will depend on your symptoms, general health, and lifestyle.
  • Some of them have side effects – but the benefits usually greatly outweigh the problems. If you do find it hard to cope with one of your medicines because of the side effects, it is important to talk to your doctor.2
  • It is very important to take your medicines exactly as your doctor tells you, as this will ensure that the medecine works for you.3
  • You are likely to need more than one medicine at a time. Making a note or chart may help you keep track.2

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU REMEMBER2

Put an alarm on your phone​

Associate it with habits​

Check a box after a pill is taken​

Ask someone to remind you​

Self management​: exercise tips

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO DO SPORT?4

Activity may improve the functioning of the heart by reducing the workload and enabling it to beat more efficiently. This will improve your symptoms.

TYPES OF EXERCISE​:

Walking is a good activity to start with. If you already walk and consider yourself physically active, try cycling, swimming, or stretching.

Precaution

You should still be able to talk while you are exercising. If you cannot talk, you are probably overdoing it.

  • Plan to exercise 1 to 2 hours after a light meal. ​
  • Stop exercising at once if you experience shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, nausea, or a cold sweat. If the symptoms persist, contact your doctor or nurse.​

Self management​: diet tips

REDUCE FLUID INTAKE

WHY?

It’s important to be sensible about the amount of fluid you drink to minimize water and salt retention that often occurs with heart failure.4 You may also discuss with your doctor about adjusting your diuretic treatment if your symptoms get worse. You should consume less than 1.5 L per day (50 oz).5, 6​

HOW?

A reminder that the fluid you consume comes in different forms, including many of the foods you eat, such as soups and stews.​

REDUCE SALT INTAKE

WHY?

Salt is responsible for high blood pressure, a major risk factor in heart failure. You should consume less than 2 g of salt a day.5​

HOW?

You should keep track of your salt intake by checking the food labels.

HOW?

A reminder that the fluid you consume comes in different forms, including many of the foods you eat, such as soups and stews.​

HOW?

You should keep track of your salt intake by checking the food labels.

HEALTHY DIET5

Eat more fresh foods, fruits, and vegetables instead of processed food.​

AVOID CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL

Self management​: relaxing tips

Constant stressful conditions may be detrimental in the long run, and not only in terms of well-being. ​

How can you relax?7​

  • Try relaxation techniques
  • Practice meditation​
  • Talk to a professional counselor or your friends and family​
  • Join a stress management program​

References

  1. NHS. Heart failure – Treatment. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heart-failure/treatment/. Accessed March 23, 2021.
  2. Heart Failure Matters. Managing Your HF Medicines. https://www.heartfailurematters.org/en_GB/Living-with-Heart-Failure/Managing-your-medicines. Accessed April 2, 2021.
  3. Heart Failure Matters. The Importance of Taking your Medicines. https://www.heartfailurematters.org/en_GB/What-can-your-doctor-do/The-importance-of-taking-your-medicines. Accessed April 2, 2021.
  4. Heart Failure Matters . Activity & Exercise and Heart Failure. https://www.heartfailurematters.org/en_GB/What-can-you-do/Activity-and-exercise. Accessed March 23, 2021.
  5. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Heart failure. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/en/heart-disease/conditions/heart-failure/. Accessed April 1, 2021.
  6. Heart Failure Matters. Adjusting your diet: fluids. https://www.heartfailurematters.org/en_GB/What-can-you-do/Adjusting-your-diet-Fluids. Accessed April 1, 2021.
  7. NHS. Heart Healthy Living. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-healthy-living/. Accessed March 25, 2021.