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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 -- Diagnosis and Treatment

Doctors diagnose heart failure by taking a medical history and conducting a physical exam and tests.  During the medical history your doctor will want to know if: You have any other health problems such as diabetes, kidney disease, angina (chest pain), high blood pressure, or other heart problems You smoke You drink alcohol, and if so, how much You are taking medications. During the physical, the doctor will check your blood pressure, use a stethoscope to hear sounds associated...

Read the Understanding Heart Failure -- Diagnosis and Treatment 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: April 26, 2012
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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