What is heart failure symptom tracking?

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Heart failure: Keeping a daily record of your symptoms

Tracking your heart failure symptoms every day can help you see changes, know when to call your doctor, and be in charge of your health. These suggestions can help you do it.

  • Choose a way to track symptoms.

    Find a method that works for you. Use a calendar, a notebook, a computer, or an app on your phone.

  • Keep track of your symptoms every day.

    Make a note of your symptoms. Are any of them worse, better, or new? Common symptoms include shortness of breath, swelling in your ankles and legs, a cough, a low energy level, and stomach bloating.

  • Record how you're feeling.

    Track whether you're feeling better or worse each day.

  • Learn to recognize symptom changes.

    It can be hard to notice small changes, especially if you have other health problems with similar symptoms. As you think about your symptoms, it can help to keep these questions in mind:

    • How are you feeling today?
    • Is it harder to catch your breath than usual?
    • Are you having to prop yourself up at night with more pillows to breathe easier?
    • Are you more tired than normal?
    • Are your feet and ankles more swollen, or does your belly seem puffy?
  • Check your symptom plan.

    This is sometimes called a heart failure zone plan. Be sure you have a plan from your doctor. Compare your symptoms with your plan. See if you are doing okay or if you have symptoms that mean you should call your doctor or get emergency help.

  • Record activities that could be triggers.

    If a symptom changed from the day before, note anything that you ate or did that could have triggered these changes. For example, did you exercise too hard? Did you forget to take your medicine? Did you eat a salty meal?

  • Take your symptom record to doctor visits.

    Your record can help you and your doctor see how well your treatment is working or if you need changes. Your doctor can also help you find triggers that make your symptoms worse. Then you can try to avoid those triggers.

Why track your symptoms when you have heart failure?

Tracking can help you avoid symptoms, tell when your symptoms are changing, and know when to get help. Tracking can help you feel in control of your health and connect things you do or don't do with how you feel. And it helps your doctor know how well treatment is working.

Learning to pay attention to your symptoms of heart failure

You may struggle at first to recognize your own heart failure symptoms. Some of them might be hard to notice. Or maybe they're similar to symptoms of other conditions.

With practice, you can tune in to your heart-failure symptoms and feel more in control. Here's how.

  • Take notes.

    Tracking your weight and other symptoms each day will help you know which heart failure zone you're in (red, green, or yellow). And that can help you know when you need to get help.

  • Be a good detective.

    Look for clues that something is different. Here are some things you can ask yourself:

    • Is it harder to catch my breath?
    • Am I more tired?
    • Are my feet and ankles swollen?
    • Do my legs or belly seem puffy?
    • Do I have to prop myself up at night to breathe?
    • Do I wake up in the night feeling out of breath?
  • Trust your instincts.

    Instincts are usually correct. If you're able to tune in to your own inner voice, you can pass important information on to others who help care for you.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.