Heart Failure Care

Taking responsibility for your heart health is something that you have control over. Learning about your heart, how it functions, what strengthens it, and what causes damage are important things to know. Get familiar with the information listed below and start taking steps to gain control of your health. UNC Lenoir Health Care is committed to providing you with tools to help you maintain your heart health. We offer the Lenoir Wellness Center and programs throughout the year that to help you reach your goals.

Yoga Class

Know The Symptoms

• Having trouble thinking or being sleepy • Feeling dizzy • Feeling weak • Unable to walk or do activity like in the past • Being short of breath • Cough • Unable to lay flat • Having chest pain or tightness • Feeling heart beat fast • Gaining weight • Abdomen swelling or feeling sick to stomach • Ankle swelling • Cold hands and feet

Check Your Weight Daily

Daily weight is key to keeping an eye on your symptoms. If you gain 3 lbs. in one day or 5 lbs. in one week you should report this to your doctor. Weigh yourself each morning after you have emptied your bladder and always in the same clothing or nothing. Keep a notebook by your scale to record your weight daily.

Limit Salt Intake

Restrict the salt (sodium) in your diet to 2000mg/2gm a day. Read food labels for sodium amounts per serving. It is also important to avoid salt substitute that is high in potassium.

Here is an easy way to remember foods that are high in salt: • Brown salt = gravy and soups • White salt = table salt • Black salt = soy sauce • Red salt = ketchup • Yellow salt = mustard • Pink salt = deli meats • Green salt = pickles and olives

Eat To Stay Healthy


  • Plain rice and pasta (instant mixes contain added salt)
  • Dry cereals with less than 140 mg of sodium per serving (shredded wheat, puffed rice, puffed wheat)
  • Regular cooked cereals, such as oatmeal and cream of wheat
  • Air-popped (try low– sodium spray margarine to add flavor)
  • Unsalted nuts and pretzels
  • White, whole or cracked wheat, rye, French, Italian, pumpernickel breath, plain rolls and crackers (limit regular bread products to 4 per day). Ezekiel Bread is one brand that has very low sodium and is in the freezer section.
  • Salt-free breads and crackers, melba toast, matzo crackers and bread sticks
  • Unsalted fresh or frozen lean beef, pork, poultry, lamb, veal and fish
  • Dried (legumes) beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, unsalted peanut butter, unsalted nuts, eggs
  • Mild and Dairy Products (2 servings per day)
  • Skim or 1% milk
  • Dry cottage cheese, natural cheeses (Swiss)
  • Low-fat-frozen yogurt and regular yogurt, ice-milk and sherbets
  • Fresh seafood that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids 1-2 times per week
Vegetables and Fruits
  • Fresh or frozen fruits or vegetables, no salt added
  • Canned fruit, in its own juices
  • Dried Fruit
  • Some canned tomato products, such as diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (5-10 servings per day); use a wide variety
Fat and Oils
  • Canola, olive and flaxseed oils
  • Limit saturated fats to <10-20 grams per day and avoid trans fats entirely
  • Salad dressings with less than 140 mg sodium per serving (1tbsp)
  • Salt-free margarine and butter (limit regular margarine and butter to 3 tsp per day)
  • Canola, olive and peanuts oils
Warning: Special “diet” foods may contain less fat and fewer calories, but are usually higher in sodium

Limit Fluid Intake

Your daily fluid intake should not exceed 1.5 – 2 liters. Not only do fluids you drink count so does soup, ice cream, jello and some fruits like melons, grapes and oranges. Spread out the fluid you consume throughout the day and use small cups and sip slowly.

Take Your Medications

Be sure to take your heart failure medication every day according to the label. Don’t change or stop any medication without discussing with your doctor.

Conserve Your Strength

Learn to conserve your strength and pace yourself to prevent fatigue. Space out your chores and plan ahead so you don’t have to rush. Don’t try to keep up with others, but walk and work at your own pace.

How To Exercise With Heart Failure

Heart failure occurs when your heart is not able to pump enough blood to meet the needs of your body. You can exercise when you have heart failure. Before starting to exercise, talk with your health care provider about the best types of exercise for you. Regular exercise can help you feel better and stay out of the hospital.

  • Start slow.
  • Do an activity you enjoy.
  • Set a goal for yourself.
  • Look for ways to add exercise in small ways.
  • Include friends in your exercise program
  • Pick a time of day that is easiest or when you have the most energy
  • Change the activity if you get bored
Call your health care provider if you have new or increasing symptoms