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Congestive Heart Failure
Treatment and Care
If you have heart failure, your doctor will monitor you closely. You will have follow up appointments at least every 3 to 6 months and tests every now and then to check your heart function. For example, an ultrasound of your heart (echocardiogram) will be done once in awhile to see how well your heart pumps blood with each beat.
You will need to carefully monitor yourself and help manage your condition. One important way to do this is to track your weight on a daily basis. Weight gain can be a sign that you are retaining fluid and that the pump function of your heart is worsening. Make sure you weigh yourself at the same time each day and on the same scale, with little to no clothes on.
Other important measures include:
- Take your medications as directed. Carry a list of medications with you wherever you go.
- Limit salt intake.
- Don’t smoke.
- Stay active. For example, walk or ride a stationary bicycle. Your doctor can provide a safe and effective exercise plan based on your degree of heart failure and how well you do on tests that check the strength and function of your heart. DO NOT exercise on days that your weight has gone up from fluid retention or you are not feeling well.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Get enough rest, including after exercise, eating, or other activities. This allows your heart to rest as well. Keep your feet elevated to decrease swelling.