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People who have heart failure need to track their weight carefully. Checking your weight lets you know how much extra fluid your body is holding on to. Sudden weight gain may mean that fluid is building up in your body because your heart failure is getting worse. Knowing how your weight is changing helps you manage your heart failure.
It's not hard to track your weight. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Heart failure means that your heart muscle doesn't pump as much blood as your body needs. Because your heart can't pump well, your body tries to make up for it. To do this:
Your body tries hard to make up for heart failure. But at some point, it won't be able to keep up. The heart gets worn out. Then fluid will start to build up in the body. This fluid buildup is called congestion. This extra fluid shows up on the scale when you weigh yourself.
It's this congestion that can lead to other symptoms of heart failure. These include shortness of breath, tiredness, and swelling in your belly and legs. For many people, if their heart failure gets worse, their symptoms get worse too.
Your doctor will tell you how to manage ups and downs in your weight caused by fluid buildup. For example, if you have a slight weight increase, your doctor may want you to take an extra water pill (diuretic) or limit salt in your food.
Sudden weight gain may be the first sign that your heart failure is getting worse.
Weight gain may be the first sign that extra fluid is building up in your body and that your heart failure is getting worse.
How much weight you gain is a measure of how much extra fluid your body is holding on to. Sudden weight gain may be the first sign that your heart failure is getting worse.
Fluid buildup, or congestion, can lead to other symptoms of heart failure.
When fluid builds up in your body, it can lead to other symptoms of heart failure. These include shortness of breath, tiredness, and swelling in your legs and belly.
Fluid buildup can lead to other symptoms of heart failure. These symptoms include shortness of breath, tiredness, and swelling in your legs and belly.
Checking your weight helps you manage your heart failure. It helps you know when to call your doctor. Tracking your weight also helps your doctor know if your treatment for heart failure is working.
Checking your weight helps you manage your heart failure.
One of the best ways to manage your heart failure is to check your weight. Tracking your weight helps you know when to call your doctor.
One of the best ways to manage your heart failure is to check your weight. It also helps you know when to call your doctor.
It's easy to keep track of your weight if you check it every day. Here are some tips:
Keep a few notes on your calendar about how you feel each day. Here are some things to ask yourself:
If you suddenly gain weight, call your doctor. Your doctor may tell you how much weight to watch out for. But in general, call your doctor if you gain 3 lb (1.4 kg) or more in 2 to 3 days. If you are gaining weight slowly, tell your doctor on your next visit.
Tell your doctor if you are having to prop yourself up at night to breathe, or if you wake up in the night feeling out of breath.
If you suddenly gain weight, it's okay to wait and see what happens.
You should weigh yourself every day and at the same time each day.
You should weigh yourself every day, at the same time each day. This will help you keep a true record of your weight over time. It will also help you know right away if you are gaining weight from fluid buildup.
It's important to weigh yourself every day, at the same time each day. This will help you keep a true record of your weight over time. It will also help you know right away if you are gaining weight from fluid buildup.
Now that you have read this information, you are ready to start checking your weight.
If you have questions about this information, print it out and take it with you when you visit your doctor. You may want to write notes in the margins where you have questions.
Many hospitals and insurers have disease management programs to help people learn more about their heart failure.
If you would like more information on heart failure, the following resource is available:
|American Heart Association (AHA)|
|7272 Greenville Avenue|
|Dallas, TX 75231|
Visit the American Heart Association (AHA) website for information on physical activity, diet, and various heart-related conditions. You can search for information on heart disease and stroke, share information with friends and family, and use tools to help you make heart-healthy goals and plans. Contact the AHA to find your nearest local or state AHA group. The AHA provides brochures and information about support groups and community programs, including Mended Hearts, a nationwide organization whose members visit people with heart problems and provide information and support.
|National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)|
|P.O. Box 30105|
|Bethesda, MD 20824-0105|
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) information center offers information and publications about preventing and treating:
|National Institutes of Health Senior Health|
|9000 Rockville Pike|
|Bethesda, MD 20892|
|Phone:||1-800-222-2225 Aging Information Center|
This website for older adults offers aging-related health information. The website's senior-friendly features include large print, simple navigation, and short, easy-to-read segments of information. A visitor to this website can click special buttons to hear the text aloud, make the text larger, or turn on higher contrast for easier viewing.
The site was developed by the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine, both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIHSeniorHealth features up-to-date health information from NIH. Also, the American Geriatrics Society provides independent review of some of the material found on this website.
You can find more information about heart failure here:
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Last Revised: April 26, 2012
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