Following a well-balanced diet, as recommended by the doctor, nurse or dietician, will help your partner or relative feel better, control their heart failure symptoms and possibly enhance their energy level. Encourage your partner or relative to eat healthily, avoid excessive salt intake and maintain a healthy body weight. Excessive fluid intake should also be avoided. In special circumstances, such as periods of extremely hot weather and humidity, or episodes of vomiting or diarrhoea, your partner or relative may need to increase their fluid intake.

Fluid restriction is not usually necessary, but some patients with severe heart failure and congestion may need fluid restriction of 1.5 to 2 litres a day.

Click here to find more information on how to have a healthy diet.

Return to Simple things you can do to help

ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

Back to top