Living with heart failure

If you have been diagnosed with heart failure, this can be a scary time which can cause you to experience a number of different symptoms. Some of these include, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, coughing and swelling in the legs and tummy, which can all cause a hindrance on your day-to-day life. However, there is a lot you can do to help manage your condition and help stopping it from getting any worse.

Here at the Pumping Marvellous Foundation, we are a patient-led heart failure charity who completely understands the problems that patients face. Therefore, we have put together a concise list of the things that can help you stay healthier, for longer.

Keep as active as you can

Exercise is very important for everyone to keep your heart strong and healthy – but this also applies to heart failure patients. Exercise has been proven to help strengthen your heart and increase your stamina, preventing the body from losing its resilience and becoming weaker. However, it is important to talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise program, as they will make sure that the exercises being carried out are safe for you.

After checking with your doctor, you should contemplate engaging in moderate activities such as walking, cycling, swimming and yoga. Doctor’s often advise patients to work towards 20-30 minutes of activity per day most days of the week, even through three different 10-minute blocks throughout the day.

Take your medication

You have been prescribed your medication for a reason, and this could be a multitude of different drugs to treat symptoms of your condition, depending on the cause of your heart failure and how severe it is. It is essential that you stay on top of what you are taking, always following your doctor’s recommendations. As a patient, successfully taking all of your medication without missing doses will give you the best chance at keeping heart failure symptoms controlled.

Many patients opt for setting a daily alarm as a reminder to take their medication, or using a pill dispenser – a device which can assist in taking medication at the right time. Just make sure you never stop taking them and if you experience any side effects, these should be discussed with your doctor.

Stick to a healthy diet

A healthy diet can help to improve your heart failure symptoms as well as your overall health. Unfortunately, after being diagnosed with the condition you are going to have to keep an eye on what you are eating, aiming to cut down on foods that may increase your blood pressure.

For example, too much sodium in your diet will raise your blood pressure, so you shouldn’t be adding salt to your food as this can make the diuretics less effective and contribute to the swelling in your lower limbs. Dishes which are high in saturated fats and cholesterol should also be replaced, and healthier food choices should be made when shopping in the supermarket.

Who is the Pumping Marvellous Foundation?

As we have already touched upon, here at the Pumping Marvellous Foundation, we completely understand how heart failure is an umbrella of specific conditions and spans across all socio-economic groups. Based on this, we proudly tailor our support to each patient, with our services and products improving their quality of life overall.

If you would like to find out some more information regarding the work we do, or help us build awareness of heart failure, please feel free to browse the Pumping Marvellous website. We also are always looking at new ways to generate support and donations, so we would love to hear from you, if you are looking to fundraise.