Managing heart failure in summer

We are incredibly lucky to have had beautiful weather here in the UK for the last couple of weeks and it is a clear sign that summer is just around the corner. If you’re living with heart failure then you will know that it is important to take care of your health and wellbeing all year round but, there are some things in particular that you can do at different times of the year.

As we move into the summer months and the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, there are certain things that anyone living with heart failure should bear in mind. Of course, summer is a brilliant time to adopt healthy heart habits but many people with heart failure tend to worry about the summer heat and how this may affect them. Hopefully, the tips our team here at Pumping Marvellous have put together will help put your mind at ease.

Be sensible with outdoor activities

Many people love the summer because they can spend lots of time outside and enjoy hobbies that are made for this time of year. Whilst when living with heart failure you can still make the most of this weather too, it is best that you avoid extreme physical activities and exercise.

If you want to get out and about, doing so in the morning is perfect. Enjoy your hobbies before the hottest part of the day, this way you won’t need to worry as much about overheating and placing too much pressure on your body or your heart.

Ensure you keep hydrated

Of course, it is always important to ensure that during summer months you keep hydrated and when living with heart failure, this is even more important. Try to ensure that you’re drinking plenty of water and not forgetting to drink throughout the day unless you have been instructed by your healthcare professional to restrict your fluid due to your personal clinical situation.

Whilst many like to enjoy a cocktail or a beer in the sunshine, drinks like this can actually make you more dehydrated, so be aware of this. If you haven’t been advised to give up alcohol all together then you can still enjoy a drink in summer, just make sure you’re sensible.

Make healthy food choices

Summer is a brilliant time of year for food and many people find it easy to eat a healthy balanced diet during the summer months. From fresh fish and mixed salads to fruit desserts, it is easy to ensure that you’re getting all of the nutrients your body needs.

Lots of the cold foods that are eaten during summer are also brilliant for anyone living with heart failure. Not only are they packed full of vitamins and minerals but they also usually have a higher water content too which will help with hydration.

Befriend shade and sun cream

Even if you used to spend lots of time in the sunshine topping up your tan, when living with heart failure it is safer for you to enjoy the sunshine from the shade. You can still spend time outside with your family and friends, just try to ensure that you’re keeping cool.

If you’re heading outside, make sure that you’re using plenty of high factor sun cream too. Get into the habit of topping up your sunscreen regularly as well to prevent yourself from getting burnt. If your body does get sunburnt, it is much harder for it to stay at a cooler temperature.

Update your summer wardrobe

Lots of people will have different ‘wardrobes’ for summer and will swap their jumpers for their strappy tops. It goes without saying that this is one of the best ways to keep yourself from getting too hot no matter whether you’re inside or outside.

Ideally, you should try to wear light-coloured, loose-fitting, lightweight clothes. It may be time to update your summer wardrobe to clothes that are most suitable when living with heart failure. With the right clothes, you should be able to enjoy the warm weather without overheating.

Having an amazing summer with heart failure

All in all, just because you’re living with heart failure doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing summer. Yes, you will need to be slightly more careful and listen to your body, but in general, these are all things that everyone should be doing anyway. Whilst if you have a heart problem, extreme heat can place an extra burden on your heart so it is important to stay cool and look after yourself, you can still enjoy your summer with your family and friends.

If you’re looking for some more advice about living with heart failure please visit the Pumping Marvellous website today. The Pumping Marvellous Foundation is a UK-based patient-led heart failure charity and on our website, you will find so much information about living with heart failure and the best ways to manage your condition. With video stories to watch and webinars to attend, hopefully we can help to make your day-to-day life when living with heart failure much easier and also less lonely.