Coping with diarrhoea

Some people with heart failure control the amount of fluids they drink to minimise fluid retention that often occurs with heart failure. However, if during your travels, you get diarrhoea, you may lose more fluid than normal from your body and there is a danger you may become dehydrated. In this case, you may need to take more fluids than usual as dehydration can make heart failure symptoms worse. Over-the-counter medicines for controlling diarrhoea are usually safe and effective, but be sure to mention to the pharmacist that you have heart failure and give them details of the medicines you take each day. Diarrhoea or vomiting can also affect how well your heart failure tablets are absorbed by your body and exacerbate symptoms. If you lose too much fluid, you may need to stop taking some of your medication, such as diuretics and vasodilators. You will need to discuss this with your doctor.

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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.

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