Living With Heart Failure

Living with heart failure generally becomes more difficult for people as the symptoms get worse. By following your treatment plan, taking necessary precautions, and having open and clear discussions with your doctor and family, you can help make this less of a burden. Options you may want to discuss as part of living with heart failure include advance directives and hospice care.

Living With Heart Failure: An Introduction

Heart failure usually cannot be cured, and you will likely have to take medication for the rest of your life. It is important that you know that your symptoms may get worse over time. As your symptoms get worse, you may not be able to do many of the things that you did before you had heart failure.
Appropriate treatment can relieve your symptoms and make living with heart failure easier. Treatment can also reduce the chance that you will have to go to the hospital. For these reasons, it is very important that you follow your treatment plan. This includes:
  • Taking all of your medications as your doctor prescribes
  • Making all of the lifestyle changes your doctor recommends
  • Keeping all of your doctor appointments.
Common things that can make symptoms worse and lead to a crisis, or even a hospital visit, are:
  • Forgetting to take your medicines
  • Not following your diet (such as eating salty foods)
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
If you have trouble following your diet, talk to your doctor. He or she can help arrange for a dietitian to work with you on how to stick with a healthy diet. Alcohol also makes your symptoms worse. If you drink alcohol, don't do so very often and limit yourself to one drink. If you have severe heart failure, you should not drink alcohol.
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