How Do I Manage My Fluids and Salts if I Have Severe Heart Failure?
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 ...

Table of Contents
powered by healthline

Average Ratings


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.

Webcast Transcript

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.

MANDEEP 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 restriction.

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.

ANNOUNCER: In 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 essential

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 management.

Related Videos

What Conditions Can Lead to Heart Failure?
Are There Any Dietary Restrictions Needed When I Have Heart Failure?
Do Swollen Ankles Mean I Have Heart Failure?

Licensed from
Top of page
General Drug Tools
General Drug Tools view all tools
Tools for
Healthy Living
Tools for Healthy Living view all tools
Search Tools
Search Tools view all tools
Insurance Plan Tools
Insurance Plan Tools view all tools

What is a reference number?

When you register on this site, you are assigned a reference number. This number contains your profile information and helps UnitedHealthcare identify you when you come back to the site.

If you searched for a plan on this site in a previous session, you might already have a reference number. This number will contain any information you saved about plans and prescription drugs. To use that reference number, click on the "Change or view saved information" link below.

You can retrieve information from previous visits to this site, such as saved drug lists and Plan Selector information.