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    How to Live Your Best Life With Heart Failure

    continued...

    That doesn’t mean you have to stay in bed all the time. You just have to pick and choose what you can do and what you can’t on any given day.

    “You need to continue to decide what’s important for you, to plan for that, to plan how you can do that,” Stevenson says.

    “In general, people can do most of the things that are really important to them. They may have to give something else up. They’ll have to rest before and rest after an important event. But they can make almost any important event.”

    5. Exercise.

    Move around. Go for a walk. It’s important. You may have to start slowly. And you may tire easily. That’s OK.

    No exercise for days or weeks at a time isn’t.

    “The most important thing I’ve learned from sticking to an exercise program is to do it for all of the right reasons, and to make sure that I set achievable goals for myself,” Durant writes in her blog. “My health is my top priority and that is my motivation to keep exercising.”

    Some people with heart failure may shy away from exercise or a trip away from home. “But if they have a day where they do too much, it’s not going to hurt their heart,” Stevenson says. “It’s not going to make their heart fail faster.”

    6. Watch your sodium and your weight.

    Too much sodium in your diet makes you retain water, and that can put undue pressure on your heart. The American Heart Association recommends you get no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.

    How do you do that?

    • Stop adding salt to your food.
    • Eat low-sodium versions of the foods you like.
    • Pick foods naturally low in sodium, like fresh or frozen meats, eggs, yogurt, tortillas and many fruits.
    • Learn to read food labels.

    You should point out a quick weight-gain to your doctor right away -- say 2 pounds in a day or 4 pounds in a week. That could be a sign that your heart failure is getting worse. Many experts recommend you weigh yourself every day (at the same time and in the same way), and keep an accurate log of any weight gain or loss.

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