Heart failure, or congestive heart failure, happens when the muscles of the heart don’t pump blood as well as they should. This causes blood to back up, and fluid can build up in the lungs, which causes shortness of breath.
There are also some heart conditions that can leave your heart too weak or stiff to pump blood properly.
Heart failure is a chronic condition that requires lifestyle changes to improve quality of life. So, keep reading to find out three key factors you need to keep in mind when living with heart failure.
1. Take Your Medication
Once you’ve been diagnosed with heart failure, your doctor will prescribe various heart failure medicines to help treat your symptoms. The medicine you’re prescribed will depend on the cause of your heart failure and how severe it is.
The most crucial step in managing your heart problems is to take your medication according to your doctor’s recommendations. If you’re afraid you might forget to take it, you can set reminders on your phone, leave sticky notes throughout your home or use a pill organizer with an alarm.
2. Downsize Your Salt Intake
Salt is one of the main culprits when it comes to extra fluid building up in your body and worsening heart health. One of the best self-care steps you can take to fight heart disease problems is reducing your sodium intake.
Unfortunately, salt is everywhere when it comes to food, so you’ll need to be vigilant. When buying groceries, keep an eye out for items marked as “low-salt” or “no salt added.” You should also try to minimize your intake of bacon, fried foods, and salted butter.
3. Weigh Yourself
If you’re living with heart failure or your doctor has made note of signs of heart disease, it is crucial that you weigh yourself every morning after you go to the bathroom. Weight gain is one of the first warning signs, since it means you’re retaining fluid.
You should keep a weight chart, and if you gain more than three pounds in one day or five pounds in one week, you should contact your doctor.
If you realize you’ve suddenly gained weight, you should check your ankles, legs, and abdomen for swelling. Swelling in these areas could be due to a buildup of fluid in your tissues which would require medical attention.
If you suspect you might be retaining fluid, you should seek medical help, as it can be remedied if caught quickly enough.
Navigate Living With Heart Failure
Living with heart failure can take some getting used to, but it doesn’t mean you can’t live life to its fullest. You simply need to make some adjustments and remember to prioritize your health. So go ahead and consider these lifestyle changes to improve your quality of life.
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