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Heart failure treatment

Lifestyle changes

Manage your fluid balance

Monitor and manage your fluid balance by establishing a daily routine of weighing yourself so you know if fluid is building up in your body.

There are 3 ways that you can help to manage your fluid balance:

  • manage your fluid intake
  • restrict your salt intake
  • take diuretic (fluid) medicines as prescribed by your doctor.

Restrict your salt intake

Salt causes your body to retain fluid. Make sure you eat low-salt foods and don't add salt to your food at the table or during cooking.

Be smoke-free

Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood and damages the walls of your arteries. Stopping smoking is one of the most important things that you can do to reduce your risk of further heart disease.

For more information about quitting smoking, talk to your doctor or call the Quitline on 13 78 48 (13 QUIT).

Limit your alcohol intake

Alcohol can damage your heart. Talk to your doctor about whether or not you should drink alcohol. Your doctor may ask you to stop or limit your drinking.

Don't drink more than one to two standard drinks of alcohol a day. If your heart failure has been caused by alcohol, stop drinking altogether.

Chronic heart failure programs

You may be able to attend a special program to help you manage heart failure. These programs usually involve a number of health professionals, such as nurses, dietitians and exercise specialists.

Medicines for heart failure

There are many different types of medicines used to treat heart failure or chronic heart failure. It is important that you take all the medicines prescribed by your doctor.

If you think your medicine is not working, is causing you problems or you have any questions, talk to your doctor. Do not stop taking your medicines without talking to your doctor first.

Your doctor might also recommend that you have a device, such as a pacemaker or implantable cardiac defibrillator implanted in your chest to help your heart work better.

In severe cases of heart failure, a heart transplant or other procedures may be needed.

Last reviewed: October 2016

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