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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Heart Failure: Watching Your Fluids
Too much fluid in your body can make
it harder for your already-weakened heart to pump. Your doctor may prescribe a
diuretic to help get rid of excess fluid. He or she
may also suggest that you limit liquids so that your body can get rid of the
extra water and
Your doctor will tell you how much fluid you should be taking in every
day. Recommendations may range from about
1500 mL (1.6 qt) to
2000 mL (2 qt), or about
48 fl oz (1420 mL) to
64 fl oz (1893 mL) a day. Here
are the amounts of fluid in some common equivalent household measures:
It is important to know how much fluid your regular
drinking glasses hold. You can find out by filling your drinking glass with
water and then measuring the amount in a measuring cup. After you know this, you
won't have to measure every time.
Besides water, milk, juices, and
other beverages, some foods contain a lot of fluid. Any foods that will melt
(such as ice cream, gelatin, or flavored ice treats) or foods that have a lot
of liquid (such as soup) should also be measured and counted as part of your
One method for keeping track of your fluid intake is
to have an empty container that holds the amount of fluid you are allowed for
the day. As you drink fluids, put an equal amount of water into the container
until you reach your fluid limit. When the container is full, you have reached
your fluid limit and should stop drinking.
Another method for
keeping track of your fluid intake is to allow yourself
8 fl oz (1 cup) of fluid at each meal [3 x
8 fl oz =
24 fl oz, or
3 cup]. You can then fill a container with
water to keep in your refrigerator that contains the balance of your fluid
allowance. For example, if you are allowed
48 fl oz (6 cup) of fluid a day, you could have
24 fl oz (3 cup) divided into three meals and then another
24 fl oz (3 cup) in the refrigerator to drink during the day. If you drink other
beverages besides water (such as coffee, juice, or soft drinks), then you would
need to pour out an equal amount of water from your container in the
August 13, 2013
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
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North Kansas City Hospital.