Font Size
A
A
A

Body Weight Monitoring and Heart Failure


Body Weight Monitoring and Heart Failure

People with heart failure usually need to monitor their weight carefully. A sudden weight gain may mean that excess fluid is building up in your body because your heart failure is getting worse. As heart failure progresses, most people gain weight in parallel with the development of congestive symptoms. The amount of weight gained varies greatly among people with heart failure, and it reflects the amount of sodium and water the body has retained.

In some cases, weight gain may be the first noticeable sign that you have developed heart failure or that your heart failure is getting worse. In fact, your doctor will want you to track your weight to monitor your heart failure and to help gauge the effectiveness of treatment.

  • Weigh yourself daily or every other day.
  • If you suddenly gain weight, call your doctor. Your doctor may tell you how much weight to watch for. But in general, call your doctor if you gain 3 lb (1.4 kg) or more in 2 to 3 days.
  • Keep a weight record to show the doctor. Weigh yourself at the same time each day and record your weight on a calendar near the scale. The best time is in the morning before breakfast. Weigh yourself without clothing.
  • A weight loss of several pounds in a short period of time is common and expected, especially when you first begin treatment for heart failure.
  • If you are overweight and your weight is not caused by excess fluid, try to lose weight. Carrying less weight puts less stress on the heart.

Your doctor likely will work with you to develop some guidelines to follow for managing ups and downs (fluctuations) in weight caused by fluid retention. For example, if you have a weight increase of 2 lb (0.91 kg), your doctor may recommend taking an additional diuretic that day.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRobert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Last RevisedJuly 30, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.






Medical Dictionary