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
    getting worse.
  • 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
    contain sodium.
  • 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 Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC – Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine

Current as ofOctober 5, 2017