Suzanne Hughes MSN, RN, Richard P. Lewis MD, MACC, Mandeep R. Mehra MBBS, FACC, Nanette K. Wenger MD, M.A.C.
One of the most important ways of managing moderate to severe
heart failure is to control fluid and the salt content in your diet. Tune
in to find out how.
ANNOUNCER: If you or a loved one has moderate to severe heart
failure you know how important it is to maintain a heart healthy diet. One
key step is to limit the amount of salt you consume. Too much, can cause
the body to retain fluid causing high blood pressure which puts added
strain on the heart
MANDEEP R. MEHRA, MBBS, FACC: One of the
most important ways of controlling heart failure is by controlling the
fluid and the salt content in your diet. One should restrict their sodium
content to under two grams a day if they have severe heart failure. But it
becomes very, very difficult for a patient to adhere to that guideline. We
typically recommend not adding any additional salt to diet.
NANETTE K. WENGER, MD, FACC: I send my patients to a dietitian. Of course,
it's no fun to eat food that doesn't taste good, and a
good dietitian can show patients what can be done instead of salt that is
perfectly safe in the setting of heart failure and that makes food taste
good. And in addition to a number of herbs and spices, simple things, like
pepper, onion, garlic, lemon are perfectly applicable.
R. MEHRA, MBBS, FACC: As far as fluids are concerned, one must weigh
themselves every day. If their weights are increasing dramatically on a
day-to-day basis, that is a candidate patient for very strict fluid
NANETTE K. WENGER, MD, FACC: Certainly, you have to
learn to restrict the amount of liquids to about five small glasses a day,
and that takes practice, and that takes measuring.
addition, diuretics also known as water pills, may be prescribed to flush
out excess sodium and water from the body. They help reduce blood volume
which lowers blood pressure.
With heart failure, adherence to
medications is crucial and being vigilant about what you eat and drink is
NANETTE K. WENGER, MD, FACC: Again, the patient-
you--you have to know that if you use garlic, it's garlic, not
garlic salt. Garlic salt has sodium in it. It's onion, not onion
salt. You have to learn how to read labels. Virtually all the prepared
foods are just loaded with sodium.
Many of the fast foods will
give you your week's sodium allowance in one meal. So you and a
trained dietitian are the best resource, because you are responsible at
home. I can't go home on your shoulder and show you what to do
with the fluids and the salt. You must learn this part of your