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How to Manage Heart Failure

Heart failure can be managed with medications and close self-care. You also need to partner with health care providers. Many treatments and changes in habits can decrease symptoms and keep the disease from getting worse.

  • Activity:
    • Moderate exercise will keep your body strong and keep you doing the activities you enjoy. Start slow. Check with a health care provider about attending a cardiac rehabilitation program.
  • Diet:
    • Heart-healthy, low salt. No more than 2000 mg of sodium or salt per day.
  • Daily weight:
    • It is important to watch for early warning signs of fluid weight gain.
  • Some heart failure patients may be ordered to have fluid restrictions.
  • Medications:
    • Understand your medication.
    • Know the correct dose to take.
    • Take your medication on time.
  • Websites to help you manage your medication:

Drugs to treat heart failure

There are medicines that work in different ways to help treat heart failure and manage symptoms. Drugs used include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers, diuretics and aldosterone blockers.

Some of these drugs block effects of stress hormones that can make heart failure worse. Some relax the blood vessels and decrease the workload of the heart.

Read more about drugs to treat heart failure. 

Drugs to avoid

Drugs to avoid include NSAID's (such as ibuprofen) and some herbal medications. If you have heart failure, you should always check with your primary care provider before taking any over-the-counter medications. 

Advanced therapies

If you have heart failure, you may want to talk to your primary care doctor and ask if you should see a special doctor who has advanced training in caring for heart failure patients.

If you have certain forms of heart failure, you may receive advanced treatments such as AICD, biventricular pacemaker or other options.