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Weight Monitoring for Congestive Heart Failure: Is it Necessary?

congestive heart failure weight monitoring device

Fluctuations in body weight can be indicative of congestive heart failure.

Frequent body weight recordings can help identify congestive heart failure in its early stages and prevent the development of other chronic conditions.

This article will go over the risks of congestive heart failure and the effectiveness remote weight monitoring.

What is Congestive Heart Failure?

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Every year, nearly 500,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

Congestive heart failure means that is it difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body.

The body depends on the heart to effectively pump nutrient-rich blood to cells.

Cells need sufficient blood supply to function properly.

Individuals with congestive heart failure may experience:

  • shortness of breath
  • swelling in the abdomen (ascites) or legs
  • loss of appetite
  • chest tightness/discomfort/pain
  • fatigue
  • dizziness

Congestive heart failure can be caused by:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • coronary artery disease
  • blood clots/ heart attacks
  • kidney disease

Congestive Heart Failure and Weight Monitoring

Weight gain is typically one of the first signs of congestive heart failure.

While weight gain may not seem harmful, it can serve as a precursor to more serious symptoms and conditions.

If a patient’s weight fluctuates by more than 3 pounds in. single day, their remote weight monitoring device will send a real-time alert to the clinician.

Through daily weight monitoring, patients can stay on top of managing congestive heart failure and work on preventative care rather than treatment.

Tips for Remote Weight Monitoring

When done right, weight monitoring can be an extremely effective way to manage congestive heart failure.

Various factors can cause weight to fluctuate throughout the day. It’s critical to ensure that patients understand how to weigh themselves consistently.

For the most accurate results, we recommend:

  • weighing in at the same time every day (preferably first thing in the morning)
  • wearing similar clothes or nothing at all for each weigh-in (to prevent the weight of the clothes from drastically affecting the reading)
  • being mindful of food and fluid intake before weigh-in

Managing Congestive Heart Failure

remote weight monitoring for heart failure patients

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Managing congestive heart failure requires consistency.

Some of the best practices to keep heart health in check include:

1) Daily weigh-ins

Daily weigh-ins will help keep the patient accountable.

Doctors will be alerted if too much weight is gained in a single day and can take the necessary actions.

Remote patient monitoring is all about providing better care in between visits. Clinicians can keep tabs on how their patients are doing and catch concerns early.

2) Reducing sodium intake

Excess sodium in the diet can cause fluid retention.

Encourage patients to avoid high-sodium foods and adopt a more whole food diet.

Processed foods are typically very high in sodium, so recommended more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

3) Regular exercise

Regular exercise is essential for promoting circulation throughout the entire body.

A few aerobic exercise sessions a week will help lower blood pressure, heart rate, and improve breathing.  

Individuals with congestive heart failure may experience severe shortness of breath or dizziness. Encourage patients to exercise at a comfortable rate to prevent overexerting the heart.

4) Quit smoking

Smoking can cause fatty substances in the arteries to buildup (atherosclerosis). 

This can block the arteries and make it extremely difficult for the heart to pump blood.

Smoking strains the heart muscles, which increases your blood pressure and heart rate.

Luckily, it’s never too late to quit smoking. By easing tension on the heart, blood pressure and heart rate can drop in as soon as a few hours.

5) Limit alcohol intake

While the occasional drink here and there won’t harm your heart, binge drinking (the consumption of 3+ alcoholic drinks within 1-2- hours) can severely damage the heart.

Alcohol increases blood pressure, can cause irregular heartbeats, and is closely link to cardiomyopathy.

Is Weight Monitoring Essential for Managing Congestive Heart Failure?

Measuring body weight regularly can help identify whether a patient’s heart failure is getting worse or if adjustments are necessary to control fluid retention.

While it is not the only way to manage congestive heart failure, daily weigh-ins can help clinicians get a more accurate understanding of their patient’s heart health. This allows for better prevention and treatment.

Interested in implementing remote weight monitoring at your practice? Click here to try a free demo!

Featured image: ©iStock.com/LittleBee80

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