heart failure: Tips on reducing fluid and salt intakeFollowing your doctor’s recommendations for fluid and salt consumption is an integral part of your heart failure treatment. These restrictions are important to prevent water retention (edema). Here are a few tips to help you reach your goals:
A low-sodium dietSodium is a component of table salt. Most of the sodium in food comes from processed foods like canned goods, frozen meals, chips, deli meats, bread, cheese, etc. Eating home-cooked meals as often as possible is the easiest way to reduce your salt consumption.
At the grocery store, don’t simply rely on the claims on packaging. Learn to read the Nutrition Facts table to make smart choices. If need be, ask your pharmacist or a registered dietician for assistance.
What foods are considered fluids? All beverages (water, juice, coffee, milk, pop, alcoholic drinks, etc.), as well as soup and broth, but also refrigerated or frozen foods that would revert to liquid form at room temperature, such as jellies (Jell-O), yogurt, and ice cream.
Need a trick to help you stick to the limit set by your doctor? Each morning, pour into a container an amount of water equal to the amount of fluids your doctor asked you not to exceed (usually 1.5 to 2 litres). During the day, each time you drink or eat a liquid food, measure your portion and remove an equivalent amount of water from the container. For example, if you have a cup of soup for lunch, pour out one cup of water from the container. Don’t forget to include the water you drink to wash down your medication. If you empty the whole container before the end of the day, you will not be able to take in any more fluids that day. Don’t worry, with time you will learn to gauge your fluid intake more accurately!
To quench your thirst without taking any liquids, try chewing gum, sucking on hard candies, or eating small frozen fruits like grapes or strawberries. Sometimes simply rinsing your mouth can be enough.
What to do when you’re sickWhen you have a fluid-restricted, low-sodium diet, your health can deteriorate very quickly if you fall ill, especially if you experience vomiting or diarrhea. It is important to contact your pharmacist or the contact person in your health care team promptly. They will assess the situation with you and make the appropriate recommendations.
Need help? Your pharmacist is there to help you!
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.