Heart Failure Self-Care Guide: Nine Best Tips for Patients
Sep 14,2023 | YILING
What is heart failure self-care like? How to effectively control heart failure? Read this blog to find answers.
Today, the mortality and readmission rates of heart failure remain high. Many exacerbations or relapses of heart failure are due to irregular medication, unhealthy lifestyles, or lack of regular outpatient follow-up after discharge.
Strictly speaking, heart failure is not a disease but a physiological state of pathological changes. It is caused by various factors leading to abnormal changes in the structure and function of the heart, affecting the amount of blood pumped by the heart. This impairs the heart's ability to meet the metabolic needs of various tissues, leading to progressive deterioration. Therefore, learning heart failure self-care is crucial.
Here we provide the following 9 practical recommendations for heart failure patients.
Use specialized instruments to record blood pressure and heart rate. It is recommended to measure and record blood pressure and heart rate after waking up in the morning and before sleeping at night. Heart failure patients should aim to keep their resting heart rate between 55-65 beats per minute. Additionally, monitoring body weight using a scale is important.
- Adhere to medication instructions
The biological effects of some heart failure medications may gradually appear after 2-3 months of continuous use. Therefore, even if symptoms improve, it's important to continue taking the medication as prescribed and avoid changing or stopping medications without medical guidance.
To prevent elders from missing doses or taking multiple doses, reminder methods such as lists and pillboxes can be helpful.
- Diet and Nutrition
(1) Watching Your Fluid Intake: You can keep things in check by using a cup with measurements to track how much you're drinking each day. It's a good idea to aim for around 1.5 to 2 liters of fluids daily.
(2) Cutting Back on Salt: When it comes to salt, it's best to steer clear of highly salty foods like things with lots of added flavoring, preserved foods, processed meats, and pickled vegetables.
(3) Balanced Eating: Think about your meals as a chance to nourish your body. Make fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, and whole grains the stars of your plate. You can also have some fish and dairy but try to cut back on red meat like beef and lamb.
- Exercise Rehabilitation
Research indicates that patients who engage in regular exercise have about 20% lower risk of sudden death than those who always lie in bed.
For severe chronic heart failure patients, rest is important. Passive leg exercises should be performed while lying in bed to prevent muscle atrophy and venous thrombosis. Once heart failure symptoms stabilize, gradually increase activity levels to a point where symptoms are not exacerbated, and fatigue is avoided. The best exercise for the heart is aerobic exercise, such as walking, cycling, and stair climbing.
- Avoid Infections
Heart failure patients should avoid colds, and other infections, as they are the primary triggers for worsening your heart failure. We can prevent infection by maintaining a suitable indoor temperature and humidity, checking the weather forecast, adjusting clothes in time, and wearing masks. For the elders, it’s better to take preventive measures such as flu vaccination and pneumonia vaccine.
- Manage Emotion
Depression, anxiety, and loneliness are common psychological problems in elderly patients with heart failure, which are likely to make heart failure worse. So, patients should learn to relieve stress. Family members can do something to help. For example, they can provide enough emotional support to help patients get through their emotional troughs.
- Prevent Constipation
Constipation is something many folks with heart failure experience. It might lead to a sudden spike in blood pressure and heart rate, which can hike up how much oxygen your heart needs. In some cases, it might even set the stage for a heart attack. That's why it's super important to keep your bowel movements on a regular track.
If you're looking for some foods to help things move smoothly down there, consider adding some sweet potatoes, bananas, corn, celery, and dragon fruit to your plate. These goodies can act like natural lubes for your intestines, helping them do their peristalsis dance.
- Quit smoking and drinking
People with heart failure who smoke have a much higher chance of not doing well – their risk of not making it is way higher compared to non-smokers. As for alcohol, moderation is key. Too much can directly harm your heart muscle, making it pump less effectively. This can lead to heart problems like cardiomyopathy, where your heart's pumping ability takes a hit.
In all, kicking the smoking habit and keeping alcohol in check are smart moves.
- Get enough sleep
Taking care of your sleep is just as important. If you're experiencing heart failure, making sure you're getting enough rest is quite essential. Here are some ways to help:
- Playing calming music before you hit the hay can help ease your mind and prepare you for sleep.
- Ever thought about doing a bit of yoga or taking a peaceful stroll before bedtime? These activities can help you wind down and get ready for a good night's sleep.
- Give your eyes and mind a break by avoiding the TV, phone, or computer at least an hour before you want to sleep. Let your brain ease into sleep mode naturally.
The above are effective suggestions we highly recommend for heart failure self-care. We hope they can be helpful to you. What’s more, Qili Qiangxin Capsules are strongly recommended for heart failure patients, especially those with chronic heart failure. This medication significantly improves heart function by protecting microvessels, reducing apoptosis of myocardial cells, enhancing energy metabolism, and inhibiting ventricular remodeling.