How to Keep Track of CHF Weight Monitoring for Patients
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How to Keep Track of CHF Weight Monitoring for Patients

Health professional checking vitals and explaining CHF monitoring to senior woman during home visit.

Around 5.7 million people in the US live with heart failure. The heart cannot pump enough blood to maintain homeostasis, and your body provides clues that you can manage. Anyone who’s experienced congestive heart failure (CHF) needs to track their weight continuously. Checking weight daily ensures that the patient knows if the body is carrying any extra fluid or there could be a need to change medicine. Sudden weight gain could mean fluid building in the body, which means heart failure is getting worse. CHF weight monitoring is important because otherwise, it could be fatal. 

HCC clients with congestive heart failure and their families are educated on the ongoing process. We provide what you can track, control, and when to alert your physician. With proper education, you can stay ahead of the severity of congestive heart failure, and by maintaining communication with your physician, you can manage it more effectively at home. For instance, one needs to track daily weight to know how the heart supports circulation. Is it sending oxygenated blood flow to the lungs, is fluid backing up into the lungs? Are the kidneys the following line of defense filtering the fluid at a rate to get the clean blood back up to the heart?

When dealing with congestive heart failure, monitoring how you feel regularly is one thing to keep in mind. Here are a few things to always keep in mind, which could inform your overall health and signal an issue with CFH. 

  • Are you tired more than usual? 
  • Are you experiencing edema (swollen feet and ankles)?
  • Do your legs or belly seem bloated?
  • Do you have an increase in weight as compared to your previous weight?

Any of these signs could mean you need to talk to your doctor about CHF weight monitoring.

Why do I need to be serious about CHF weight monitoring? 

Keeping and maintaining a baseline to look back on is mission-critical for long-term health success for anyone experiencing congestive heart failure symptoms. Here are some things to keep in mind checking your daily weight with CHF: 

  • Check weight on the same scale every day, at the same time every day
  • Keep a calendar near your scale. Write your weight on it daily
  • If you’ve gained weight, call your doctor immediately
  • Weigh yourself while undressed or wearing the same clothing
  • Weigh yourself after you urinate but before eating

Knowing your dry weight is essential

Dry weight is weight when the body isn’t holding any extra fluid. Consult with your doctor or nurse about your dry weight and write down the dry weight on your daily weight calendar. Daily weight should be compared against the dry weight to keep weight within 4 pounds (higher or lower) of dry weight due to changing over time. 

What if my weight fluctuates too much from my dry weight?

If you’re home, call your healthcare provider. If your weight is 4 pounds higher or lower than your dry weight, this could be a severe issue. 

Fluid limitations and fluid tracking 

Fluid intake should be monitored when it comes to patients with heart failure. It’s essential to speak to medical professionals to establish a plan that accommodates how much fluid can be had daily. Write the information on a tracking sheet or calendar, and keep track of the information electronically with an app. Track fluid intake by filling up a pitcher with the same amount, and every time you have a drink, empty the same amount of water. When the container is empty, you’ve reached your daily limit. Some foods are considered fluids, including pudding, Jell-O, soup, Popsicles, and ice cream. 

How do I manage thirst with CHF?

Being thirsty doesn’t necessarily mean your body needs more water. 

If you’re feeling thirsty, try one of these tricks:

  • Snack on frozen fruit like grapes or strawberries
  • Suck on ice chips or a wet washcloth 
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on hard candy
  • Stay away from milk, ice cream, and salt 
  • Use lip balm or Vaseline to keep your lips moist

If you’re outdoors, it’s critical not to get dehydrated. Losing water due to sweating could be problematic and could interfere with CHF protocols with your healthcare team. If you plan on taking a trip or going outside, talk to your doctor about a plan to ensure weight and fluid intake are monitored correctly.  Some of the signs of dehydration are: 

  • Fast heartbeat 
  • Dark urine 
  • Dizziness 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Feeling faint 

Shortness of breath caused by extra fluid management

Extra fluid in the body can make you feel like you can’t catch your breath. If shortness of breath is a new symptom or if it’s worse than it has been, call your doctor. 

Maintaining a detailed and concise picture of what your heart health looks like is vital for any milestones your medical team might set for long-term success. When there are any changes to your weight, either dry or due to fluid, it’s critical to speak to your doctor immediately so they’re aware of any changes you might be experiencing with CHF weight monitoring.

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