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A heart failure diagnosis can be a worrying time, but it just means you’ll need to adjust some of the things you do to manage a range of potential symptoms such as breathlessness and extreme tiredness.
These seven heart failure tips are small, easy changes that you can make to your everyday life that will help you to do just that
It may seem obvious but taking your medications every day at the right time is one of the most important things you can do for your heart failure. Here’s some suggestions that may help:
Remember to speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about your medication at all.
Heart failure puts a greater strain on the body and puts you at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from the flu, so it is important for everyone with heart failure to get a yearly flu jab2.
A one-off pneumococcal (flu) vaccination, protects against a serious chest infection called pneumococcal pneumonia and is also available to those with heart failure2. Your doctor will be able to give you more information about both of these vaccinations
A healthy diet can help to improve your heart failure symptoms as well as your overall health1. It’s easy for us to say what you should be eating but much harder for you to actually stick to! That’s why we’ve put together a few simple tips we hope will help:
In case we haven’t said it enough, exercise is very beneficial for those with heart failure. But almost as important is ensuring that you rest afterwards to allow your body to catch up with the demands placed on it3. Resting doesn’t only mean sleeping, it can be finding a quite space to listen to music, reading or meditating. Here’s some tips for conserving energy:
Heart failure makes your body less likely to be able to adjust to extremes of weather, whether that is hot and humid or very cold3. Listen into the weather forecast every day and modify your plans accordingly.
During the hot months3:
During the cold months3:
Besides the physical symptoms of heart failure, the condition can often leave people feeling a bit down. Please remember that you are not alone in this, in fact over a third of people with heart failure report feeling symptoms of depression3. It’s important to try to find ways to control any stress, anxiety or depression caused by heart failure. Give these tips a go:
You know better than anyone the challenges of living with heart failure. There may be lows along the way so it is especially important to celebrate the successes. Maybe you met your exercise goal, made the tastiest heart healthy meal yet or took control and raised a concern you had with a doctor – whatever your achievement it deserves celebrating. But of course, we can’t forget about heart failure so make your reward heart friendly. Making a list of incentives is a great way to motivate yourself and could include things like:
Both you and your heart will benefit.
Learn more about managing life with heart failure >
Find out why it is important to look after your heart this winter and top tips for staying healthy during the cold weather.
Have you come across these common heart failure myths?
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There are many ways you can manage your condition.
1) British Heart Foundation (BHF). 5 ways to manage your heart failure. Heart Matters Magazine. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/medical/living-with-heart-failure/5-tips-for-managing-heart-failure..Last accessed January 2020.
2) NHS Choices. Living with heart failure. Available here: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heart-failure/Pages/living-with.aspx.Last accessed January 2020.
3) Coeuretavc. Managing Heart Failure. Available here: http://www.coeuretavc.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/health-information-catalogue/en-managing-heart-failure-v3.aspx. Last accessed January 2020.
4) Goldstein C, Gathright E, Garcia S. Relationship between depression and medication adherence in cardiovascular disease: the perfect challenge for the integrated care team. Dove Press Journal 2017; 11: 547-559. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5359120/. Last accessed January 2020.