Keep a written list of what medications you take and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the bottles when you see your doctor. Do not take any new medications, over the counter pills, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements without talking to your doctor first.
Always take your medicine as directed by your doctor. Call your doctor if you think your medicines are not helping or if you feel you are having side effects. Do not stop taking any medicines until you talk to your doctor first.
Weigh yourself every day before breakfast.
Weight gain can be a sign of worsening heart failure. Call your doctor if you have gained 2 or more pounds in 1 day or 5 pounds in 1 week.
You may feel like resting more. Match your activity to the amount of energy that you have. Schedule regular rest periods, and pace your activities so you are not overdoing it.
Limit time spent outside when it is hot or cold. Do activities during the cool part of the day in hot weather. Dress warmly in layers in cold weather. Cover your head and mouth to keep warm and to help you breathe.
Ask your physician about beginning cardiac rehabilitation or an exercise program. Talk to your doctor before beginning exercising. It is best to start slowly and do more as you get stronger. Exercising makes the heart stronger, lowers blood pressure, and can help you stay healthy.
Eat healthy foods from all of the 5 food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads/grains, dairy products, meat and fish.
Do not add salt to your food during meals or cooking. Refer to your handout on salt restriction for tips on this.
Fluid includes foods such as ice cream, soups, jello, etc. Refer to your handout on fluid restrictions for tips on keeping track of this. Limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink.
Heart failure is a life-changing disease for you and your family. You and those close to you may feel angry, sad or frightened. These feelings are normal. Talk to your doctory, family or friends about your feelings.
Stress may slow healing and cause illness later. Since it is hard to avoid stress, learn ways to cope with it. Learn new ways to relax (deep breathing, relaxation, meditation, biofeedback, yoga).
It is never too late to quit smoking. You are more likely to have a heart attack, lung disease, or cancer if you smoke. You will help yourself and those around you by not smoking. Ask your doctor for information on how to quit.
CALL YOUR PHYSICIAN IF:
- You have more swelling in your ankles, feet, hands, face or neck.
- You have gained more than 2 pounds in 1 day or 5 pounds in 1 week.
- You are lightheaded or dizzy, sweaty, or nauseated.
- You have a change in sputum color (i.e. pink, green, yello).
- You have a dry cough that does not go away.
- You are wheezing (a high pitched noise when breathing in or out).
- You have more trouble breathing than usual at night or with your usual activity.
- You do not have an appetite and do not want to eat.
- You have any questions or concerns about your illness or medicine.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have chest pain.
- You have trouble breathing at rest / without any activity.
- You are too dizzy to stand up.
- You have signs of a heart attack: Chest pain or discomfort (may spread to arms, jaw or back), nausea, trouble breathing, sweating.
This is an emergency. Call 911 or 0 (operator) for an ambulance to take you to the nearest hospital or clinic. Do not drive yourself.