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CHF Education
Daily Weights
Weighing and recording your weights every day is an important part of your care. Every morning when you wakeup, use the bathroom, then immediately weight yourself on a good scale. Record your weight, along with the date, on a piece of paper taped to the wall next to the scale. Bring that piece of paper to your doctor's appointment every time you go.
Salt/Sodium Restriction
Restricting your salt may be the most important thing you can do to decrease fluid build-up in your ankles and lungs. The classic recommendation is less than 2,000mg per day, but closer to 1,000mg per day would be even better. You need to read every label to determine the amount of salt in everything you eat. Salt is salt is salt. "Sea salt" "Kosher Salt" or any other type of salt is exactly the same. They are all bad for you. The only difference is "Salt Substitute" which contains potassium instead of sodium. But before using this, discuss it with your doctor because potassium over-use can cause problems.
Fluid Restriction
It is important to decrease the amount of fluids that you drink to less than 1 1/2 quarts. This includes ALL fluids including coffee, tea, milk, soup, or liquids that are added to other foods (milk on cereal). There are many different ways to measure this, such as measuring the amount of fluid that your favorite cup/glass holds, or measuring the amount of fluid that a bowl of cereal holds. No matter how you do it, keep your fluids as low as you can. Drink only when you are thirsty, and know that if you can decrease your total amount of fluids, you may need fewer diuretic pills. Do not pay attention to the old-wives-tale of you need eight glasses of water a day to be healthy.
Adjusting your diuretic Dose
Some patients, depending on their circumstances, are allowed to adjust their diuretic dose depending on their daily weights, swelling and symptoms of shortness of breath. Discuss with your doctor whether or not this would be appropriate in your case.
Taking Your Medications
Many of the medications that you take with your CHF can be life-saving. Discuss these with your doctor and make sure that you take them in the exact dose and time every day.