26 May Tips for Monitoring Heart Failure at Home
Heart failure occurs when a weakened heart muscle is unable pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. Heart failure is one of the most common reasons for hospital admissions among those 65 years and older, though the condition is not limited to seniors. The risk of heart failure can be mitigated by following a few guidelines, as listed here:
Decrease salt and water intake — Eat less than 2000 mg (2 grams) of sodium per day. Limit your water intake, usually less than 1.5 liters per day. To monitor your fluid levels, weigh yourself every day at the same time on the same scale with similar clothing. If your weight increases by 2 pounds in one day, or by 4 pounds in one week, please call your doctor. Gaining weight suddenly is one sign that you may be retaining more fluid than you should be.
Control your weight — If you are overweight, your heart must work harder to supply blood and oxygen to your body. Losing weight can help you to feel better and reduces the strain on your heart.
Stop smoking — Cigarette smoking increases your risk of having a heart attack and can worsen heart failure.
Limit alcohol — People with heart failure should not drink more than one serving of alcohol per day (for women) or two servings per day (for men). One serving is 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine. If your heart failure is related to drinking too much, you should stop drinking alcohol completely.
Cardiac rehab and exercise — Exercising most days of the week can help to reduce shortness of breath and fatigue, which are common problems in people with heart failure. Becoming more active can also help you to feel better. You may be recommend a cardiac rehab program to help you develop a safe exercise plan.
Learn more about the heart and heart failure by downloading CardioVisual, the mobile app that uses short, easy-to-understand videos about common heart conditions, treatments and procedures.