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 ...

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Suzanne Hughes MSN, RN, Richard P. Lewis MD, MACC, Mandeep R. Mehra MBBS, FACC, Nanette K. Wenger MD, M.A.C.

Summary

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.

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