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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Heart Failure
Maintain Normal Blood Pressure
Decrease or Discontinue Alcohol Consumption
Take Prescribed Medications
- Oxygen therapy—Increases oxygen in the blood. Oxygen therapy may allow you resume or continue activities.
- Vaccination—Yearly flu and pneumonia shots can help prevent respiratory infections.
- Cardiac rehabilitation—Provides supervised education and counseling to increase exercise, manage symptoms, and reduce the risk of further heart-related conditions.
- Follow any additional recommendations from your doctor, such as monitoring your weight on a daily basis. Record and report significant weight gains that occur in a day or week. An upswing in weight may indicate a worsening of your heart failure.
- Maintain regular communication with your health care team, adhere to your treatment plan, and go to any recommended appointments. Your needs may change over time. Regular contact with your healthcare team will help you stay on top of any changes.
- Be an active participant in your care. Talk to your team about symptoms or treatments that you are having difficulty with. Other treatments options may be available to help you better manage your heart failure.
When to Contact Your Doctor
- Sudden weight gain
- Shortness of breath that wakes you up at night, is present at rest, or is increased with exertion
- Increased swelling in the limbs, legs, or ankles
- Swelling in the abdomen, lack of appetite, or nausea
- Trouble sleeping
- Frequent dry, hacking cough
- Increased fatigue
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Heart failure. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 7, 2013. Accessed October 9, 2013.
Heart failure exercise/activity guidelines: exercise. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/Heart%5FFailure/hic%5FHeart%5FFailure%5FExercise-Activity%5FGuidelines.aspx. Accessed October 9, 2013.
How is heart failure treated? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hf/treatment.html. Updated January 9, 2012. Accessed October 9, 2013.
Lifestyle changes for heart failure. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/PreventionTreatmentofHeartFailure/Lifestyle-Changes-for-Heart-Failure%5FUCM%5F306341%5FArticle.jsp. Updated September 20, 2012. Accessed October 9, 2013.
Medicare and joint commission national hospital inpatient quality measures. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 5, 2013. Accessed October 9, 2013.
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Physical changes to report. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/PreventionTreatmentofHeartFailure/Physical-Changes-to-Report%5FUCM%5F306356%5FArticle.jsp. Updated September 20, 2012. Accessed October 9, 2013.
Physician quality reporting system 2011 quality measures. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 5, 2013. Accessed October 9, 2013.
What is cardiac rehabilitation? American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiacRehab/What-is-Cardiac-Rehabilitation%5FUCM%5F307049%5FArticle.jsp. Updated August 14, 2012. Accessed October 9, 2013.
The Trials of Hypertension Prevention Collaborative Research Group. The effects of nonpharmacologic interventions on blood pressure of persons with high-normal levels. Results of the Trials of Hypertension Prevention, Phase 1. JAMA. 1992;267:1213.
4/16/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Nilsson BB, Westheim A, et al. Effects of group-based high-intensity aerobic interval training in patients with chronic heart failure. Am J Cardiol. 2008 Nov 15;102:1361-1365.
4/5/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Levine GN, Steinke EE, et al. Sexual activity and cardiovascular disease: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2012;125(8):1058-1072.
3/5/2013 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Dinicolantonio JJ, Pasquale PD, Taylor RS, et al. Low sodium versus normal sodium diets in systolic heart failure: systematic review and meta-analysis. Heart. 2013 Jan 24. [Epub ahead of print.]
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 10/00/2013