You and your health care team will create a treatment plan together. Treating heart failure is done to:
The goal of treatment is to make you feel better and live longer. Your treatment plan may include:
By following your treatment plan, it is possible that you can have a good quality of life for many years!
Each person has a different amount of fluid his or her heart can handle. In general, most patients have too much fluid and need to lose that fluid weight.
Your health care provider will recommend a healthy weight for you. If you do not lose the fluid:
Your "dry" weight is your goal weight. This is how much you weigh when you do not have extra fluid (water) build-up in your body.
To maintain the right amount of fluid in your body, you need to weigh yourself each morning.
You have fluid weight if you gain:
To lose the extra fluid weight, follow your health care provider's directions.
Do not drink more than two liters of liquids each day. This includes water, milk, tea, coffee, soda, ice cream and soup.
Most patients' hearts cannot handle more than two liters of fluids a day.
Remember: you need more fluid coming out each day than what goes in. To maintain your weight, the amount of liquids going in each day has to equal what is coming out.
Limit your sodium (salt) to 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams (mg) each day.
Remember: low salt does not mean no salt. Your heart needs salt to work right. Without any salt, you also will not feel well.
There are five types of medicines that work to either improve heart failure or your quality of life. The goal is for you to be on more than two of them at the highest possible doses. The higher dose you can take, the more likely your heart failure will get better.
Exercise is good for heart failure. The more you exercise, the better your muscles get at pulling the oxygen out of your blood. This means your heart won't have to work as hard.
Push yourself and do a little more walking each day. Your goal is to walk at least 30 minutes each day.
Cardiac rehab can improve your quality of life. Talk with your health care provider for more information.
Do not smoke. Learn more about how tobacco affects you and benefits and suggestions for quitting.
There are a few other things you can do to help make your heart healthier:
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Failure, fifth edition, 1-931876-31-2
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts