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The Top 5 Things to Know About Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) can be a scary, daunting diagnosis. However, with the assistance of your doctor, it can be well managed and you can lead a normal life! Here are the top 5 things to look out for and know about CHF:


1. It’s very important to weigh yourself daily and keep a record of your weight.

Weigh yourself daily and keep a record of it in a notebook or journal. By keeping a record, you can look back for any slow, sometimes normal weight gain. If you notice weight gains of 2-3 lbs overnight, or 5 lbs in one week, call your primary care physician.

2. Know the symptoms of CHF Exacerbation.

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure include swelling in the feet and legs, swelling around the abdomen, and increased shortness of breath, especially upon exertion or when lying down. If you feel the need to sit up or raise the head of your bed, it could be a sign of fluid in your lungs.

3. Take your medications as ordered by your primary care physician.

Your PCP/Cardiologist may have ordered specific heart medications for your particular diagnosis. Do not skip or double-up on any medications; take them as ordered! Try to remember medication names, uses and most common side effects of your meds. Take fluid pills, in example Lasix or Furosemide, early in the morning to avoid having night-time urination.

4. Follow a low sodium diet.

Prepare all food from scratch as much as possible to monitor salt contents. Incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats into your diet. Do not add any salt to your food while preparing it or while eating it at the table. Avoid pre-processed foods as they are usually preserved in sodium. Use frozen alternatives when possible as an option to canned foods.

5. Keep all medical appointments as scheduled.

As you age and become at higher risk of CHF, your physician will monitor your heart function as needed and make adjustments to medications as needed at each appointment.

Talk with your doctor about any concerns or problems you may be having today!