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Monitoring Heart Failure

When it comes to heart failure, the patient plays an active role in tracking his or her condition. This article provides five tips to help you actively monitor your heart failure.

Tip 1: Weigh Yourself Daily

  • Use the same scale.
  • Wear similar clothing each time you weigh yourself.
  • Weigh yourself at the same time each day (for example, when you get up in the morning, before eating and after urinating).
  • Record your weight in a diary or on a calendar.

Call your doctor if you gain two or more pounds in one day or five or more pounds in one week.

With your doctor's approval, follow the guidelines below if you notice any signs of increased swelling or fluid retention, including: your belt seems tighter, your belly seems more swollen, your clothes don't fit as well, your feet and ankles become swollen, your shoes become tight, or your shoe laces seem shorter.

  • Eliminate 500 mg of salt from your diet for two days (today and tomorrow).
  • Decrease the liquids you drink by 1 and 1/2 cups (360 cc) for two days (today and tomorrow).
  • If you do not notice a decrease in body fluid or a decrease in weight after restricting sodium and fluid for two days, call your doctor. Your doctor may need to adjust your medications.

Tip 2: Monitor Your Fluid Intake

If your doctor requires you to restrict your fluids, record the amount of liquids you drink/eat every day. You may need to restrict your fluids to 8 cups (which is equal to 64 ounces or 2 quarts) every 24 hours. Recording your intake will help ensure that you are not taking in more fluids than you should.

To properly record your fluid intake, you need to learn the number of cc's or ml's in common servings. Some sample measurements are included below.

Fluid Measurements

1 ml = 1 cc
1 ounce = 30 cc
8 ounces = 240 cc
1 cup = 8 ounces = 240 cc
4 cups = 32 ounces = 1 quart

Sample Measurements

Coffee cup = 200 cc
8 ounce glass = 240 cc
Milk carton = 240 cc
Small milk carton = 120 cc
Juice, gelatin or ice cream cup = 120 cc
Soup bowl = 160 cc
Popsicle half = 40 cc

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