Sudden heart failure can be prevented
by avoiding the triggers that cause it. Not all people are
sensitive to or react to the same triggers. What may cause sudden heart failure
in one person may not cause another person any difficulty. To avoid
sudden heart failure:
Pay attention to your symptoms. Changes in
your weight, difficulty breathing, decreased appetite, and swelling (usually
first noticed in the feet and legs) may be signs that your heart failure is
Keep your diet, exercise, and medicine routine as
close to the same schedule as possible.
Avoid things that you know
can trigger heart failure, such as eating too much salt.
How can you avoid triggers for sudden heart failure?
Watch for signs of sudden heart failure.
Track your symptoms. As you live with your
heart condition, become familiar with changes in how you feel, and let your
doctor know if your heart condition is getting worse. Keeping a record of your symptoms(What is a PDF document?) can help.
Weigh yourself every day before breakfast. Call your doctor if you have sudden weight gain, such as more than 2 lb (0.9 kg) to 3 lb (1.4 kg) in a day or 5 lb (2.3 kg) in a week. (Your doctor may suggest a different range of weight gain.) Sudden weight gain could signal the beginning of sudden heart
Know the signs of
sudden heart failure. Post a list of the symptoms
where you can refer to it as needed, and keep a copy in your wallet. Make sure
your friends and family know the symptoms. If you have symptoms of sudden heart
failure, seek emergency help immediately.
Avoid your triggers
Talk with your doctor about the following possible triggers. If these are
triggers for you, use the suggestions to help you avoid them.
Is eating too much sodium a trigger for you? Too
much sodium is a common trigger for sudden heart failure. Be aware of how much
sodium you are consuming. Your doctor might recommend that you not eat or drink more than 2 g (2000 mg) of sodium in your
diet each day. Know how to find out how much sodium is in
your foods and liquids. Ready-to-eat and canned foods tend to have more sodium.
Choose fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Talk with your doctor
before taking any medicines that you can buy without a prescription. Many
Is overexercising a trigger for you? When you
exercise, watch for signs that your heart is being stressed. If you become out
of breath, have chest pain, or become dizzy, stop exercising. Talk with your
doctor about whether you need to slow down, decrease your time, or avoid those
Is not taking medicines properly a trigger for you? It is important to take all your medicines and to take them
at the times you and your doctor decided upon.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC – Cardiology, Electrophysiology Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine