As people around the world are being instructed to maintain social distancing by staying at home, many feel inclined to stock up on non-perishable basics or to rely more on take-out or delivery. However, it is important for heart failure patients to be cognizant of the hidden sodium that many of these products contain. Heart failure patients are urged to speak with their health care provider to understand the appropriate level of sodium intake for their specific body and condition. In general, people with mild heart failure (no or mild symptoms with vigorous or moderate exercise) are usually asked to limit their sodium intake to 3,000 mg per day, while people with moderate to severe heart failure (symptoms with light exercise, household chores or at rest) are usually asked to limit their sodium intake to 2,000 mg per day.
If it becomes too difficult during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain these sodium restrictions, heart failure patients are reminded to watch their fluid status carefully (i.e. weight, leg swelling, and breathing) and speak with their healthcare team if any issues arise.
HFSA has a variety of resources that can help those living with heart failure learn to follow and maintain a low-sodium diet, including an educational pamphlet, webinar, and new podcast. These resources discuss how to read a food label to avoid hidden sodium in shelf stable foods, how to pick foods naturally low in sodium, how to adapt your preferred foods to low-sodium versions, how to track sodium intake, and helpful hints to reduce sodium intake.
Visit the HFSA Patient Hub to explore tools and resources to help patients stay healthy while living with heart failure.
View Heart Failure Awareness 365 activities to stay up-to-date on tips for healthy living for people living with heart failure.