How to self manage congestive Heart Failure

Loading the player...

 Family Physician, discusses Heart Disease treatment and management.

 Family Physician, discusses Heart Disease treatment and management.

Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Daniel Ngui, BSc (P.T), MD, CFPC, FCFP

Video Title: Heart Disease Treatment and Management Duration: 2 minutes, 3 seconds

The key member of your team that will help you manage your heart failure is your family physician.

He or she will either sit down, and speak to you or refer you to a nurse or a pharmacist to review your options. With regard to what family physicians are doing, it’s very important, once again, that you have continuity of care. We encourage two visits per year to your physician to monitor your medications and ensure your lab tests are up-to-date.

Your physician will sit down with you, and teach you the principles of self-management. Some techniques we use are monitoring of several parameters include weighing yourself before breakfast to keep in the ideal weight zone, and alarm for us if you gain five pounds in a week or four pounds in two or three days.

It’s important that you limit your fluid intake to six to eight cups per day if you have heart failure or all types of fluids. That’s approximate equal to one-and-a-half to two liters of fluid per day.

Importantly, to avoid overloading your heart, we like to avoid salt in our diet for patients with heart failure, and we recommend taking medications regularly. Exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol and smoking are important aspects to keep you in the safe zone, and your family physician and your nurse or pharmacist can teach you about congestive heart failure self-management and action plans.

Once again, since heart failure is sometimes difficult and challenging to diagnose, nothing can replace the one-on-one relationship you have with your physician. He or she can send you to the right team members so you understand how you can manage your heart failure in any instance, and it may take more than one visit.

If you have any questions or any concerns, it’s very important that you make an appointment to speak to your physician or local expert. Treatments vary according to patient and according to physician, so once again, make an appointment and speak to your doctor.

Presenter: Dr. Daniel Ngui, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

97-100 People got two or more of these video questions wrong... ( 16 participated.)

Quiz: Do You Understand Congestive Heart Failure?


Only a physical exam, performed by a Cardiologist, is needed to diagnose congestive heart failure.


To diagnose congestive heart failure a cardiologist will perform a physical exam and order diagnostic tests that may include electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, blood tests, MRI, cardiac catheterization or stress tests.


There are a number of medications available to help treat congestive heart failure.


Congestive heart failure treatments may include medications such as beta-blockers to lower blood pressure and slow a rapid heartbeat, ACE inhibitors to improve blood flow and diuretics to reduce extra fluids.


Medication is the only treatment for congestive heart failure.


Along with medication, lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise can be effective management tools for congestive heart failure. In more serious cases of congestive heart failure may require heart surgery such as angioplasty to open up narrowed arteries.


Lifestyle changes can slow the progress of congestive heart failure.


There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to prevent congestive heart failure, or at least to slow its progress. These include eating a well-balanced diet, limiting sodium, getting enough exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.


Effectively managing congestive heart failure requires daily weight monitoring.


A person with heart failure should be doing a daily weight check to monitor for fluid retention. Fluid retention is one of the biggest issues heart failure patients face.


Salt restriction is an effective approach to managing water retention.


You should aim to eat less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium daily - the average North American diet has about 4-5 thousand milligrams.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

QA Chat