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Living With Heart Failure


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.

Addressing Your Emotions

Your diagnosis of heart failure, your symptoms, and your concern for the future may cause you and your loved ones to feel depressed or worried. Your concerns are normal. As you begin taking charge of your health and making positive changes, you may find these feelings start to fade. However, if negative feelings continue and interfere with your ability to enjoy life, talk to your doctor. Counseling might help you feel better.

Here are some tips to help you deal with emotional blues:

  • Get dressed every day.
  • Get out and walk every day.
  • Keep up with activities or hobbies you enjoy.
  • Share your feelings with your spouse, a friend, or clergy.
  • Get a good night's sleep.
  • Follow your treatment plan.
  • Set and follow a realistic daily schedule.

Confronting Sexual Issues

Heart failure can affect all aspects of your life, including having the energy, desire, or ability to participate in sexual intercourse. Here are some tips to help you and your loved one deal with the physical and emotional challenges of sexual relationships:

  • Talk openly with your partner.
  • Find different ways to show affection.
  • Have sex when you are rested and physically comfortable.
  • Have realistic performance expectations. You may need to modify your sexual practices to decrease the energy required.
  • Be caring, loving, and honest with each other.
  • Your medications may affect arousal and sexual performance. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.



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Reviewed by Thomas M. Maddox, MD on June 22, 2012

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