Although heart failure is a chronic condition, the good news is that there are many ways you can manage it. This means it is especially important to monitor and keep track of your symptoms, and to take action if you notice anything getting worse.
Check out the below for some ideas on how you can play an active role in the management of your heart condition. Just remember to take action!
Take control of your condition. Research and patient experience show that people who can adapt to their illness and take control of it, have a better quality of life.
Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctors, nurses, or carers what you may feel to be silly questions.
Educate your friends and family about heart failure. Take the time to talk through your condition and how it affects your life.
Analyze your symptoms. When you have heart failure, it’s important to monitor your symptoms and to take action when you notice them worsening.
Check your weight. Try to make sure you weigh yourself every morning – if you notice a rapid weight gain (1-2 kg in 24 hours), this may be a sign of fluid build-up, an indication that your heart failure is getting worse.
Track energy levels. Are you finding everyday tasks more difficult, feeling more tired or finding it harder to breathe today compared to yesterday?
Identify and monitor the less common symptoms of heart failure, including digestive problems, nausea or dizziness.
Observe your sleeping patterns. If you start finding it more difficult to sleep, or you find it difficult to breathe when lying flat, this may also be a warning sign.
Notify your doctor straight away if you notice any of your symptoms worsen suddenly.
1: Self-Care: Following Your Treatment Plan and Dealing with Your Symptoms. Available URL: http://www.hfsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Module-4-Update.pdf. Accessed November 7’ 2016.