Caring For Your Heart
Heart disease is a common reason many people are dying or have ended up in the hospital. If you have or are at a higher risk of having a heart failure, here is information to help prevent or limit damage to your heart
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure means the heart is weak. It does not pump enough blood with each beat. Your heart still works, just not as well. You might notice you have trouble breathing, do not have as much energy, feeling faint or light-headed, pain in one or both arms or shoulders and pain and discomfort in the jaw, neck or back.
- Women are more likely to experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or unexplained exhaustion.
- Heart disease is a leading cause of death globally, resulting in the death of an estimated 17.9 million each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports.
- A heart attack happens in the U.S. every 40 seconds, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
- When your heart is already weak, it is important to take care of it. Here are some ways to help you stay healthy:
Check Your Weight
It is important to check how much you weigh. Your weight can show if you are holding extra fluid in your body
- Check your weight every day. Use the same scales. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning after you have emptied your bladder.
- Write down your weight and keep track of it.
- Call your doctor if you gain 2-3 pounds or more in 24 hours or 4-5 pounds in one week.
- Know what your “dry weight” should be. Your dry weight is when your body does not have extra fluid. You will feel best when you are at your dry weight.
If you smoke, you need to quit. If you have stopped smoking, do not start again. Tobacco use increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that cigarette smoking can damage the heart and blood vessels, raises blood pressure and carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke or nicotine decreases the amount of oxygen that is carried to the blood.
- Less physical activity can lead to heart disease as well as increase the chances of having other medical conditions that could lead to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
- It is good for you to stay active. It will help you stay strong, lose weight, and have more energy.
- It will help if you pace yourself. This helps keep you from overworking your heart.
- Activity should not be hard work. If you cannot talk while you are exercising or doing an activity, you are working too hard.
- Some good activities are walking, bicycling, and water aerobics.
Eating a low salt (sodium) diet. A low salt diet means eating less than 2000 mg a day. One teaspoon of salt has 2300 mg of sodium. Eating a low salt diet helps keep you from holding extra fluid in your body. Ways to help you eat a low salt diet:
- Put away the saltshaker.
- Do not add salt when cooking.
- Avoid any salty foods (like ham, canned soups, and chips).
- Look at the healthy eating section for more information on how to eat a low salt diet.
Your doctor might tell you to limit the amount of liquids you drink. It is important not to drink more than this amount.
- Take your medications as ordered.
- Some medications may make you feel worse before you feel better. You might notice at first that you feel more tired and short of breath. Your body will get used to the medicine and you will begin to feel better.
- Do not take any over-the-counter medicine or herbal supplements without talking to your doctor first. Some of these medications can cause you to hold extra fluid.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. ifocurs is not offering advice, recommending, or endorsing any specific prescription drug, pharmacy, or other information on the site. ifocurs provides no warranty for any information. Please seek medical advice before starting, changing, or terminating any medical treatment.