Partner with your health care team

Health care TeamYour heart failure health care team may consist of a doctor and nurse who work with you to keep your symptoms stable. Talk with your health care team as soon as your start having symptoms to prevent a visit to the hospital. These could be feeling short of breath, dizzy, tired or having new or worse swelling. Also call your health care team if you have new symptoms such as racing heart beats, fainting, or chest pressure.

No SmokingSmoking damages your blood vessels, makes your blood pressure go up, reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood and makes your heart beat faster. If you smoke, ask your provider to help you with a stop smoking program or a plan to quit smoking. There are many different ways to help you quit. You should also not visit any place where there is cigarette smoke.

VaccinesGet your flu and pneumonia vaccines as recommended by your healthcare provider.

Side effectsSide effects from your medications can cause faintness or dizzy spells. Call your doctor if your blood pressure is lower than your normal or if you get a flu or virus. Also tell your health care team of any newly prescribed medications, as some drugs can make fluid retention worse or work against medications you may be taking. Finally, ask before taking over-the-counter drugs.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before purchasing over the counter medications. Avoid over the counter pain relievers such as: ibuprofen, naproxen, nuprin. Avoid nasal decongestants such as Sudafed also called pseudoephedrine. These over the counter medication do not allow heart medications to work efficiently, therefore worsening your symptoms.

You may have Tylenol (acetaminophen) if you have a fever, headache, muscle aches.