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A recent study reported that more than 6.2 million people in the US have chronic heart failure. This number is only expected to keep growing with the aging population.

Despite the negative stigma surrounding heart failure, there are things you can do to fight it. A few basic lifestyle changes and self-care practices can go a long way in avoiding further degeneration.

Keep reading to learn about some of the top heart failure self-care practices that are simple and easy to do at home.

  1. Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet

Following a heart-healthy diet is an important part of heart failure self-care. A heart-healthy diet focuses on eating foods that improve the health of your heart and blood vessels. It also keeps you at a healthy weight and helps you deal with conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are often linked to heart failure.

Choose lean sources of protein like skinless chicken, fish (especially fatty fish like salmon and mackerel that are high in omega-3 fatty acids), legumes, and nuts. Red meats and processed meats tend to have more bad fats than other meats.

Include a wide range of colorful fruits and veggies in your diet, as they are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs. They also have fiber, which can help keep cholesterol levels in check and keep the stomach healthy.

Pay attention to the size of the servings to avoid overeating. Keeping an eye on meal sizes helps people stay at a healthy weight and keeps them from eating too many calories.

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is a key part of keeping your heart healthy and dealing with heart failure. When you sleep, your body goes through several restorative processes that are important for heart function, blood pressure regulation, hormone balance, and general cellular repair.

Every night, try to get enough decent sleep. Set up a normal bedtime routine, make your bedroom comfortable, and get into good sleep hygiene habits. Sleep problems, like sleep apnea, can hurt the health of the heart and make the signs of heart failure worse.

If you have trouble sleeping or are worried about your sleep patterns, you might want to talk to your doctor or get help from cardiology services. They can help you deal with sleep-related problems in the setting of heart failure because they are trained to do so.

  1. Monitor Fluid Intake

You can keep track of how much fluid you drink each day by measuring and recording how much you drink. This includes not only water but also things like soups, drinks, and foods that have a lot of water in them. Use measuring cups or containers to measure liquids, especially when pouring drinks or drinking from open containers.

Spread out your fluid intake over the day instead of drinking a lot all at once. This keeps you from getting too much fluid all at once and can make things easier on your heart and kidneys.

Be on the lookout for signs of fluid overload, such as rapid weight gain, swelling in the ankles, legs, or abdomen, shortness of breath, or more fatigue. If you have any of these signs, you should talk to your doctor right away.

  1. Take Medication as Prescribed

It’s important to understand the heart failure medicines that your doctor has given you. Take the time to learn what each medicine is for, how much you should take, and how to take it. Ask your doctor or nurse any questions you have about your medicines to make sure you understand them completely.

Follow your doctor’s instructions about how to take your medications. Take your medicines at the times and in the amounts that your doctor tells you to. Some medicines need to be taken on an empty stomach, while others need to be taken with food. It is important to do what the directions tell you to do.

If you have trouble remembering to take your medicines, you might want to use reminders to help you stay on track. You can set alarms or use apps on your phone that are made to remember you to take your medicine. Some shops also offer packaging services that help you keep track of your medicines by putting them in order by date and time.

  1. Engage in Regular Physical Activity

People with heart failure can benefit in many ways from being physically active regularly. It can help your heart and blood vessels get stronger, your circulation gets better, and help you stay at a healthy weight. When done right and with the help of a doctor, exercise can also help with signs like tiredness and shortness of breath.

Aerobic exercises, which are also called cardiovascular workouts, are important for a healthy heart. Your heart rate and breathing speed up when you do these things, which makes your circulatory system work better.

People with heart failure may be able to do low-impact aerobic workouts like walking, swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical machine. Start slowly and build up the length and volume of your workouts as time goes on.

  1. Manage Stress

Stress can have a big impact on your heart health, even leading to heart failure. It can raise blood pressure, heart rate, and the amount of stress hormones in the body, all of which can put stress on the heart and make symptoms worse. Knowing how stress affects your health is the first step in being able to deal with it well.

The effects of stress on the body can be lessened by doing things that help you relax. Deep breathing routines, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery are all ways to help you relax and lower your stress. Find the methods that work best for you and start using them every day.

  1. Monitor and Record Symptoms

Keep an eye on your symptoms often to notice any changes or patterns. Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day and write down any symptoms you have, how bad they are, how long they last, and what might be causing them. This can help you and your doctor find patterns and make better decisions about your care.

In addition to keeping an eye on your symptoms, it’s important to know the signs of heart failure getting worse. Some of these signs are unexpected, severe shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting, confusion, or a heartbeat that is fast and not regular. If you have any of these signs, you should see a doctor right away.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is important for keeping your body and your heart healthy. Staying hydrated helps keep the blood volume adequate, improves circulation, and helps the heart and other organs work at their best.

Checking the color of your pee can tell you how well-hydrated you are. Most of the time, pee that is pale or light yellow means you are getting enough water, while dark urine may mean you are not getting enough water.

As a general rule, your urine should be a pale yellow color. However, some medicines or supplements can change the color of your urine.

  1. Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Intake

Smoking damages the blood vessels, cuts off oxygen to the heart, raises blood pressure, and contributes to the development of atherosclerosis. Quitting smoking lowers your risk of problems with your heart and slows the process of heart failure.

Some medicines for the heart may not work as well if you smoke. Quitting smoking can make your medication work better and help you get the most out of your treatment plan.

Too much drinking can raise blood pressure, weaken the heart muscle, and cause heart rhythm problems. Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink can help your heart work better and lower the chance that your heart failure will get worse.

Some heart medicines, like those used to treat heart disease, can also react badly with alcohol. It can change how well a medicine works and could cause bad side effects.

  1. Attend Regular Medical Check-Ups

Getting regular checkups is an important part of taking care of heart failure. During these trips, heart function can be checked, medication schedules can be optimized, symptoms can be treated, lifestyle factors can be looked at, and complications can be prevented or found.

By taking part in these checkups, you give yourself the information you need to make good choices, improve how you take care of yourself, and get the best care for your heart failure.

Keep This Heart Failure Self-Care Tips in Mind

Heart failure can be managed with essential self-care practices, such as diet and lifestyle changes, managing stress, taking medications as prescribed, and being aware of warning signs. These heart failure self-care strategies can help people with heart failure develop greater self-awareness and reduce symptoms.

Developing a self-care plan with help from your healthcare provider can have great benefits. Get started today and take charge of your health!

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