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What lifestyle changes should I make?

To reap the most benefit from your treatment plan, you’ll need to make a firm commitment to lifestyle changes. Following a healthy diet and getting adequate exercise will go a long way toward easing your heart’s workload and improving your symptoms.

Managing your diet is a crucial part of self-care when you have heart failure. Proper nutrition for heart failure requires limiting the amount of sodium and fluid you consume. Healthful eating in general is also important.

Regular physical activity can help strengthen your heart and help your body compensate for its weakened pumping power. Start slowly and gradually work your way up to the recommended 30 minutes of daily activity.

You should also stop smoking if you haven’t already, and will need to limit or completely abstain from drinking alcohol. Finally, heart failure often affects sleep and sexual activity. We cover both of these topics in this section as well.