RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Valley Hospital in Ridgewood is offering tips on how to better cope with heart failure. Heart failure is the result of the heart muscle weakening, limiting the heart’s ability to circulate enough blood to meet the body's needs. This lack of circulation can cause shortness of breath, fatigue and swelling in the legs. When fluid builds up inside the body, the condition is then called congestive heart failure.
Here are some lifestyle changes that can help individuals with heart failure or those at risk for the disease live long and productive lives:
- Reduce sodium intake. Aim to consume less than 1,500 to 2,400 mg of sodium a day.
- Restrict fat and cholesterol, which can raise your risk of developing coronary artery disease, a leading contributor to heart failure.
- Cut down on alcohol and fluids. Alcohol use can weaken the heart and may interact with some heart failure medications. Excessive fluid intake can worsen severe heart failure.
- Exercise regularly to help strengthen the heart muscle.
- Quit smoking.
- Ease stress. The rapid heart rate and heavy breathing associated with stress cause your heart to work even harder.
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