Adjusting your diet: Alcohol

Alcohol may relax your heart muscle, slowing the beating of your heart and reducing your blood pressure. While having a little alcohol may help to prevent coronary artery disease, too much alcohol intake when you have an existing heart condition may raise your heart rate and blood pressure and long-term abuse may cause cardiomyopathy.

Your doctor or heart failure nurse will advise you on how much alcohol is safe for you to drink. In general it’s recommended that you drink no more than 1 to 2 alcoholic beverages a day (a single drink is classed as one glass of beer or wine, or one mixed drink with only one measure of alcohol). If you have serious symptoms, you may be advised to avoid alcohol altogether.

Don’t forget, alcoholic drinks should be counted as part of your fluid allowance for the day.

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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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