Heart Failure and Preventing Fluid Retention
In relation to heart functioning, fluid restriction is important, because if you have too much water, it can cause fluid retention. Fluid retention can make it more difficult for you to breathe, and it makes it more difficult for your heart to pump efficiently.
Sometimes the symptoms of worsening fluid retention show up as increased leg swelling, increased belly swelling, or more difficulty breathing. It is recommended that you check your weight every morning. And the best time to do this is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, meaning before you’ve eaten and after you have emptied your bladder. You should not drink any more than 1.5 to 2 litres of water each day. This is equal to six to eight cups of water. Talk to your health professional about which of these limits is most appropriate for you.
There are foods we eat every day that we do not think count towards our fluid restriction. But any food that is liquid at room temperature will count toward your fluids. These include soups, puddings, yogurts and ice cream. If a fluid restriction is new for you, it is recommended that you write down how much fluid you’re taking in each day.
Some additional tips to stay within your fluid restriction is to only drink when you’re thirsty, spread out water throughout the day, and to only drink from a small cup. Watch how much salt you are taking in with your meals, because salt causes fluid retention, and will also make you more thirsty.
Some tips for dealing with a dry mouth are to just rinse your mouth out with water and then to spit it out, take in some ice chips and you can suck on those, or you can also talk to your pharmacist about some sprays that you can put in your mouth to help manage that symptom. Other things that you can do include you can snack on frozen vegetables or frozen berries, and certainly tomatoes or cucumbers make for a refreshing snack that doesn’t add too much to your fluid restriction.
If you have any more questions about salt or fluid in your diet, please speak to your healthcare professional team.
Presenter: Bertrand Bolek, Nurse, Newmarket, ON
Local Practitioners: Nurse