Choosing a healthy lifestyle means avoiding smoking, restricting alcohol to no more than a glass of wine per day, maintaining a healthy weight, and making use of social support structures. Your emotional health is also important in coping with heart failure. Your family and friends can provide support and allow you to voice any emotions you may be feeling. Communicating with others is a good way to rid yourself of fears and apprehensions about heart failure.
A diet low in salt and fat can help your circulation stay in balance. Additionally, avoiding excess fluid intake is also useful. With heart failure due to coronary artery disease, a diet keeping cholesterol levels under control is important. A dietitian can help you design a personalized diet that will improve the way you feel. If your heart failure is advanced, you may actually be losing muscle weight (cardiac cachexia) and may go unrecognized because you are gaining fluid weight. You may feel too weak or short of breath to prepare and eat regular meals. If you are consistently losing weight try a high calorie, high protein diet. Also try eating smaller more frequent meals. Click here for more details.
Just because you are diagnosed with heart failure does not mean that you cannot remain active. In fact, moderate aerobic exercise is an integral part of improving stamina and quality of life. Activities such as walking or stationary biking 20-30 minutes once or twice a day can strengthen your muscles, heart, and cardiovascular system. Specific exercise prescriptions can be given by a qualified exercise physiologist.