Healthy lifestyle for people with CHF

By Canada Cloud Health | Published Wednesday 13 January 2021

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or simply heart failure is a common heart problem. The number of heart diseases is on a constant rise and almost half of the American population may be at risk of having CHF or the another heart disease. While congestive heart failure is serious and can lead to complications or even death, you can keep the problem at bay by following some lifestyle modifications in addition to taking medication.

What happens in congestive heart failure?

Congestive heart failure is a condition when your heart is unable to pump oxygen-rich blood to different organs with its normal pumping efficiency. As a result, you may experience signs such as fatigue, swelling on your hands and feet and irregular heartbeat. The condition if untreated can give rise to serious complications. Early diagnosis and treatment may slow down the progress of the condition. Some important changes in daily routine can help in controlling the symptoms of CHF.

What are the lifestyle modifications recommended for people with CHF? 

The following lifestyle changes will help to alleviate the symptoms of CHF:

•    Stop nicotine intake: Nicotine in any form is dangerous for health. It doesn’t matter whether you are chewing it or smoking a cigarette. Nicotine narrows your blood vessels and also affects the heart rate and increases blood pressure. All these conditions are common contributors to CHF. Hence you should quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke or consumption of nicotine in any form. Evidence suggests that people who have quit smoking habit have shown an improvement in their symptoms of CHF.

•    Cut your salt intake: Sodium retains water in the body and this may make your heart pump harder. Lesser salt will help in reducing the swelling. Sodium restricted diet will also help to reduce blood pressure.  Make it a point to remove the salt shaker off the shelf. Avoid eating preserved or canned food. Look for labels that display lower salt content especially if you are buying frozen food items. 

•    Replace your food items with fiber-rich food: Go for fiber-rich fruits, fresh vegetables and beans that will help control the cholesterol and sugar levels.

•    Choose the type of fat you eat: Avoid eating saturated fat and trans-fat. Go for low-fat dairy products.

•    Avoid caffeine: Limit the amount of caffeine you take for a day. Restrict yourself to one to two cups of coffee in a day. 

•    Restrict alcohol: If you drink alcohol regularly, limit its intake.

•    Watch how much fluid you have: Many people with CHF are on prescription water pills that lower the burden on the kidneys and avoid fluid retention. Talk to your cardiologist regarding your fluid intake.

•    Be physically active: Chalk out an exercise plan for yourself. With the advice of your cardiologist carry out regular physical activities that suit your health. 

•    Maintain a healthy weight: You may have to lose weight to maintain a healthy weight. Go for structured programs if you are not able to do a moderate level of exercises.

•    Manage your stress: Learn meditation techniques that help you give peace of mind. If you are planning to do yoga, talk to your cardiologist and avoid any activity that puts pressure on your heart.

•    Get adequate sleep: Sufficient and peaceful sleep is necessary for heart health. Get a good night sleep and take rest.

•    Monitor your symptoms: Keep a watch on your symptoms. If you notice any remarkable changes, contact your cardiologist immediately.

•    Check your blood pressure regularly: Maintain a chart of your blood pressure so that you will notice and report the changes in the readings.

•    Avoid tight clothing: Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothes that do not hold tightly to the skin to avoid restriction to the blood flow.

These lifestyle modifications through easy to read may be difficult to follow daily. However, they are essential for maintaining good heart health. It is best to make these changes in your routine after consulting with your cardiologist.


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