Lifestyle is Therapy 

Triple Therapy 

Treatment of heart disease, especially heart failure, has three parts: Medical Therapy, Device Therapy, and Lifestyle Therapy. Medicines and devices can be very effective but the best is lifestyle therapy. Changes in behavior-even small ones-can dramatically affect the course of heart diseases. We start our patients with lifestyle therapy because it improves the whole body and can allow medications to be taken with less side effects. Lifestyle therapy can slow or prevent disease progression and, may even reverse it.   


 A diagnosis of heart failure elicits many negative emotions that can be difficult to manage. Denial, grief, anger, anxiety, depression. These responses are completely normal. You may be required to make many changes in your life and habits which is frustrating. You may not be able to do many of the things you would like to do or used to enjoy. Equally frustrating. Family and friends may have trouble understanding your limitations, and you may have trouble showing it to them. All of this is stressful but also normal reactions to a new serious condition.

CHFCare understands what you’re going through. We’re specialists in every aspect of heart failure and will work with you in to develop a personalized treatment regimen.

Your mental health is vital to maintaining a good quality of life. Talking is therapy. Relaxing is therapy. Exercise is therapy.

Change is stressful but can be managed and channeled in a positive direction for healing. Happiness is the goal. Contentment is the key.  


Tips for Reducing Stress

  • Increase physical activity (walking is great)
  • Talk to your family, friends, clergy and share your thoughts and emotions
  • Meditate
  • Journal
  • Learn your limitations and do not push beyond them
  • Allow others to help
  • Avoid negative coping mechanisms such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or overeating
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you need help
  • Rest when your body tells you to
  • Take a nap
  • Join a support group

Getting Rest

It is important that you allow your body and mind time for rest. You must give yourself permission to take breaks and rest when you need to.

You may have to set limits with friends and family and expect them to respect your new boundaries. 

Do not push yourself or overdo any thing-even if it’s good for you. This only places more stress on your mind, body, and heart.

Sleep is important to your physical and mental health and wellness. If you’re not sleeping well-tell your primary care doctor or your CHFCare Team.


Physical movement and exercise are one of the best medicines for your heart, mind, and soul. The most beneficial exercises for those with heart failure are walking, riding a stationary bike, and swimming.

Cardiac rehabilitation programs are the best source of guidance and direction for helping you to know when and where to begin. Your healthcare provider can refer you to a cardiac rehabilitation program in your area.

The benefits of physical activity include:

  • Increased energy
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced falls and steady gait
  • Decrease in symptoms
  • Improved quality of life
  • Improved mental health
  • Improved quality of sleep


Quick Tips For Physical Activity and Exercise 

  • Start slowly—Baby steps—Your brain often wants to do more than your body is ready for
  • Track your time or distance in a logbook or phone
  • Increase your time or distance on an incremental basis
  • Get someone to join you
  • Be wise about the time of day you exercise—Avoid the heat-early morning and evening are best
  • Join the YMCA or a Mall Walking group


Eating and Drinking   

Food and drink may be the essence of living but moderation is the key to a long life. 

Daily Fluid Intake: 

2 Liters = 64 ounces = 8 cups

 Fluid intake is not just limited to glasses of water. You must account for all liquids you consume. This includes soup, ice cream, jello, coffee, tea, juices, popsicles, ice cubes, and milk. One way to keep track of your daily fluid intake is to use a 2L water pitcher. Fill it up in the morning and drink from it throughout the day. When it is empty, you have reached your limit for that day.


Limit Your Salt Intake 

Nothing without salt is worth eating. Our taste buds were designed to use salt in foods as a pleasure sensor. You should never eat food that doesn’t salt. It not only tastes terrible, it may not even be good for you according to some recent research.

The key, as usual, is moderation. What is bad is excessive dietary salt (sodium). Limit yourself to less than 4 grams a day. If you have swelling this should be reduced even more to about 2-3 grams (2000-3000 mg) per day. 

Food doesn’t have to be tasteless without excessive salt! Instead you can create new flavors by using alternatives to spice up your dishes such as lime, basil, garlic, ginger, cilantro.

People with heart failure can still eat good food while staying healthy.


Smoking has the most detrimental effect on your heart and your health. No other lifestyle choice has as much negative consequences as smoking. The goal is complete cessation-including second hand smoking. There are many ways to stop smoking and one of them is right for you. One thing you can do today is cut back until you can stop completely. Smoking dangers are  “dose” related and cutting back helps. We can work on this together and get it it done. 

 Alcohol in small amounts or on special occasions may be acceptable and encouraged because it relieves anxiety and stress. Like salt, the problem is when you drink too much. Alcohol is not only toxic to heart cells, it can interact with heart medications, affect your blood pressure, make you feel dizzy, and increase your risk of bleeding. If you’re on heart treatment, alcohol avoidance is good therapy.