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Living With CHF

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is estimated to affect more than 5 million aging Americans and perhaps your loved one too.   This diminished capacity to pump blood can come from an overall weakened heart, a defect, or several other factors. And while maintaining consistent communication with your medical professional is paramount, there are many ways you can support and encourage your loved ones towards healthy habits.



For many Americans, the encouragement to continually hydrate is never-ending. However, for loved ones with CHF, hydration is still important but in a uniquely managed way. As the heart works harder to pump blood to the body, the kidneys likewise may have diminished capacity. In CHF adults, over-hydration can then cause a build-up of fluids in the body, which will limit your loved one’s overall health. The recommended fluid intake for a CHF adult is roughly 64 ounces (8 cups) of fluids a day. It is important to note that “fluids” are considered your traditional beverages (water, juice, soda) as well as foods that have high liquid content (popsicles, soup, gelatin treats).


Diastolic Heart Failure

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Many professionals contend the best way to help a loved one manage their fluids is two-fold. First, is helping your loved create a routine and schedule of spacing out their fluids throughout the day. Quite often, fluid tracking fits nicely with any other medicine or nutrition monitoring already in use. Something as simple as a whiteboard on the fridge or marked water bottles and pitchers can empower your aging family member to stay on track with fluid schedules throughout the day.



  • Eating or sucking on hard candy or gum
  • Snacking on frozen fruits such as grapes
  • Flavoring ice cubes with drops of lemon or lime as treats



  • Eating or sucking on hard candy or gum
  • Snacking on frozen fruits such as grapes
  • Flavoring ice cubes with drops of lemon or lime as treats


nutrition needs

While managing fluid intake is vital for people with CHF, it goes hand-and-hand with nutrition alteration and management as well. Sodium is a critical factor in the diet of someone with CHF, mainly because of the way sodium affects retention and processing of fluids in the body. Moreover, a higher intake of salt will increase thirst and thus encourage your loved one to exceed their goal of liquid amounts. General recommendations suggest that an adult with CHF limits their sodium consumption to roughly 1,500 – 2,000 mg a day. Mindful nutrition decisions and planning best achieve this.


keeping things


As is true in most aging adults, an appropriate amount of exercise or movement can help dramatically in managing CHF. Movement and exercise will continue to strengthen your loved one’s body (which will reduce the demands on their heart) while managing their weight as well. Additionally, routine movement can decrease a loved one’s overall stress, which proves useful in lessening the strain on their cardiovascular system. For some aging adults, the idea of normal movement or exercise can be daunting, so it can be helpful to reframe creatively what movement could look like in their life.  Most doctors agree that 30 minutes of activity a day can help people with CHF maintain a healthy lifestyle.


 For many families, hearing that a loved one has CHF could feel overwhelming. And at Beverly’s Daughter, we exist to navigate that journey with you. Connect with your loved one’s cardiologist for recommended diet, fluid, and medication plans for the best management of the CHF. 
If you would like to implement some lifestyle goals, let us know and we will connect you with a certified personal training consultant who can customize ways to implement any diet, fluid, or movement plans. We would love to partner with you and your loved one as they lead successful, full lives with CHF.
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