Follow a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
Add in lean meat, poultry, fish and low fat dairy products and you have a perfect balanced diet.
Don’t add salt to your food and if you drink alcohol make sure it is in moderation.
Smoking is a major risk factor for developing heart failure. Each puff of a cigarette increases heart rate and blood pressure which means that less oxygen rich blood is being pumped through the body. It also leads to clumping in the blood vessels feeding the heart, making your heart struggle to do its job properly.
Exercise is very important
Aim for 30 minutes aerobic exercise as many days of the week as possible. Just make a decision to fit exercise into your day. Take the dog for a walk, swim, cycle – any movement which gets the blood pumping and heats you up is great for a healthy heart.
Losing weight helps
When you gain weight your heart has to pump more blood than it did before. Instead of beating more often, the heart enlarges so it can move more blood with each beat. By losing weight you give your heart a well deserved break.
Get regular health screenings
Many early signs of heart failure can go unnoticed as the symptoms only increase as diseases take hold. Be sure to get your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol checked on a regular basis as well as having a screening test for diabetes.
Heart failure patients need multiple medications. Each one treats a different symptom or contributing factor. Each medication comes with its own instructions and rules. They can’t do their job if you don’t take them correctly. You and your caregivers should work with your healthcare team to understand the medications and how they should be taken; when, how often and in what amounts. It’s important to discuss all of the drugs you take with your doctor and understand their desired effects and possible side effects. Remember that your healthcare provider and pharmacist are your best sources of information. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions about your medicines.
People who have heart failure need to track their weight carefully. Checking your weight lets you know how much extra fluid your body is holding on to. Sudden weight gain may mean that fluid is building up in your body because your heart failure is getting worse. Knowing how your weight is changing helps you manage your heart failure.
It’s not hard to track your weight. Here are some things to keep in mind:
• Weigh yourself on the same scale every day, at the same time each day.
• Keep a calendar by the scale. Write your weight on it each day.
• If you suddenly gain weight, call your doctor.