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Heart Failure: Tips for Easier Breathing

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Topic Overview

If you are under a doctor's care for heart failure, the following tips may help you deal with fluid buildup that causes difficulty with breathing.

Note: If your symptoms are severe enough to require these measures and you have not been diagnosed with heart failure, call your doctor first. Also, call your doctor if these are new symptoms or if your symptoms have become worse than they were when you last saw your doctor.

Recommended Related to Heart Failure

Understanding Heart Failure -- the Basics

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump blood effectively to the lungs or the rest of the body. This can be because the person has developed a weakened heart muscle or because the heart muscle has thickened or stiffened, making it difficult to fill the heart and backing up blood into the lungs. With heart failure, the weakened heart pumps less blood than usual, causing the kidneys and adrenal glands to produce chemicals that help the body to hold onto salt and water. In...

Read the Understanding Heart Failure -- the Basics article > >

Tips for easier breathing

  • Elevate your upper body (sit in a chair or prop yourself up with pillows).
  • At night, sleep with one or two pillows under your upper body and head.
  • Avoid unnecessary exertion (like climbing stairs) until you feel better.

Don't smoke. Smoking will make it more difficult for you to breathe.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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