As part of your treatment plan, you may have to make modifications to your lifestyle. You can read about these in the section on adapting your lifestyle. However, you should also discuss this with your healthcare team as they may have specific recommendations for the modifications you should make.
What lifestyle changes should I make now that I have been diagnosed with heart failure?
Your doctor will be able to recommend changes that you can make to your lifestyle. He/she will also be able to refer you to a dietician who will work with you to make changes to your diet, and a physiotherapist may work with you to suggest suitable physical activity.
How often will I need to return to the clinic for check-ups?
This will depend on the treatment plan your doctor recommends for you. He/she may also refer you to a specialist nurse, dietician, physical therapist, support group etc, for regular appointments.
How much fluid should I be drinking each day?
It is important to control the amount of fluid you drink so as to minimise water and salt retention that often occurs with heart failure. Your dietician or nurse may recommend how much fluid you should drink and your doctor may want to discuss your diuretic treatment and how you can adjust your treatment if your symptoms are worsening.
What sort of exercise should I do and how much should I be doing?
While it is important to be active, you should make sure you are not doing too much. Your doctor will be able to advise you which activities are good to start with and which to avoid. He/she may also be able to put you in contact with a local cardiac rehabilitation centre with regards to low-intensity training programmes you could participate in.
Is there a blood pressure monitor that you would recommend?
There are several blood pressure monitors available, but not all of them have been tested for accuracy. Your doctor will be able to give you advice on which monitors have been proven to be accurate and help to check you are using the monitor correctly.
What should my blood pressure and heart rate be?
If you are monitoring your blood pressure and heart rate regularly, it is important to know what your normal measurements should be. You will then be able to keep a record of your measurements and tell your doctor if you notice any major changes.
Am I still able to fly?
Air travel is usually not a problem for people with heart failure. However, your symptoms should be stable before you depart on an aircraft.
When should I have my next flu/pneumonia vaccination?
Your doctor will be able to advise you as to whether or not you require a flu and/or pneumonia vaccination and how frequently.