If you are diagnosed with heart failure, you can improve your heart’s function in many ways. Many people with heart failure have made lifestyle changes that have allowed them to resume many daily activities that they enjoy. These changes include staying active, not smoking, limiting or stopping alcohol use, maintaining a healthy weight and monitoring heart failure-related symptoms.
The two most important actions, however, are to follow your doctor’s instructions about how and when to take your medication, and to follow a low-sodium diet that includes fresh ingredients such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grains, avoiding packaged or processed foods. Patients with heart failure are prescribed evidence-based medical therapies. It’s very important to learn about how each medicine works and why you are taking it. We strongly recommend that you keep an up-to-date medication list in your wallet or smartphone. Please tell your care provider immediately about any side effects or concerns you have about your medications. Do not decide on your own to stop taking your medication or to reduce your dose. It is very important to stay on top of refills. Many pharmacies offer automatic prescription refills so you will not risk being without the medication you need. Many heart failure medicines are available in generic formulation and can be bought at low cost. Getting lab tests done as instructed is also important to monitor your serum electrolytes and kidney function while your medication doses are adjusted.