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.