Living With Heart Failure
Energy-Conserving Tips for Those With Heart Failure
- Simplify your tasks and set realistic goals. Don't think you have to do things the same way you've always done them.
- Plan your activities ahead of time. Do not schedule too many activities to do in one day. Do the things that take more energy when you are feeling your best. If needed, rest before and after activities. If you become tired during an activity, stop and rest. You may need to finish it on another day or when you feel less tired. Also, do not plan activities right after a meal.
- Get a good night's sleep. Be careful not to nap too much during the day or you might not be able to sleep at night.
- Ask for help. Divide the tasks among family and friends.
- If needed, use devices and tools that assist you, such as a walker, shower chair, hand-held shower head, bedside toilet, or long-handled tools for dressing (such as a shoe horn).
- Wear clothes that have zippers and buttons in the front so you don't have to reach behind you.
- Do all of your grooming (shaving, drying your hair, etc.) while sitting.
- If your doctor says it's OK, you may climb steps. You may need to rest part of the way if you become tired. Try to arrange your activities so you do not have to climb up and down stairs many times during the day.
- Avoid extreme physical activity. Do not push, pull, or lift heavy objects (more than 10 pounds).
- For more energy-saving tips, tell your doctor you would like to speak to an occupational therapist or cardiac rehabilitation specialist. Sometimes, cardiac rehabilitation can help increase your energy levels and help you get your strength back.
How Soon Can I Take a Vacation?
You may travel as soon as you are feeling better, but always let your doctor know when you plan to go and provide a phone number where you can be reached.
By following these traveling tips, your vacation will be more enjoyable:
- Always take all of your medications with you and make sure you have enough medications to last throughout your trip.
- If you are traveling by plane, carry your medications with you. Never check them with your luggage. You may need a letter from your doctor that verifies all of your medications, especially if you are traveling internationally. Pack this letter with your drugs.
- Always wear your Emergency Medical Identification.
- Make sure you have your doctor's phone number.
- Be careful to avoid infection when traveling. In areas where the water might be unsafe, drink bottled water or other beverages (order beverages without ice). Swim only in chlorinated pools.
- Select food with care to avoid illness.