Discusses need to watch fluid intake with congestive heart failure. Gives tips on spacing fluids throughout day and how to easily keep track of fluid intake. Also mentions diuretic medicines to remove excess fluid from body.
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 sodium.
Monitoring your fluid intake can reduce complications and hospitalizations.
All foods that melt (such as ice cream, gelatin, and flavored ice pops) and foods that contain a lot of liquid (such as soup) are considered liquids. Be sure to count these in your daily intake.
Space your liquids throughout the day. Then you won't be tempted to drink more than the amount you are allowed.
To relieve thirst without taking in extra water, try chewing gum, sucking on hard candy (sugarless if you are diabetic), or rinsing your mouth with water and spitting it out.
Fluid usually is not restricted in heart failure unless you have advanced or severe heart failure. Usually, restricting sodium intake alone is enough to help your body get rid of extra fluids.
But if your doctor recommends that you limit the amount of fluids you drink and eat (fluid intake), you will need to keep track of all beverages and any foods that contain a lot of liquid. Your doctor will tell you how much fluid you can have in a day.
Test Your Knowledge
Fluid intake usually isn't restricted in heart failure unless your doctor gives you a specific fluid limit.
Following your fluid recommendations doesn't mean you can eat more salt. If your doctor recommends that you limit your fluid intake, it is to help reduce the buildup of extra fluid in your body, along with the medicines you are taking and a low-sodium diet.
Following your fluid recommendation is important in heart failure because it can help maintain a normal sodium balance. It may also help reduce the buildup of extra fluid in your body, along with the medicines you are taking and a low-sodium diet.
Following your fluid recommendations doesn't mean that you don't have to keep track of the sodium in your diet. If your doctor recommends that you limit your fluid intake, it is to help reduce the buildup of extra fluid in your body, along with the medicines you are taking and a low-sodium diet.
Following your fluid recommendations doesn't mean that you can quit taking your medicines. If your doctor recommends that you limit your fluid intake, it is to help reduce the buildup of extra fluid in your body, along with the medicines you are taking and a low-sodium diet.
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:
Equivalent fluid ounces
Equivalent milliliters (mL)
1 tablespoon of fluid
½ fluid ounce
½ cup of fluid
4 fluid ounces
About 120 mL
1 cup of fluid
8 fluid ounces
About 250 mL
1 quart of fluid
32 fluid ounces
About 1,000 mL (1 liter)
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 fluid intake.
How to keep track of your fluid intake
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 refrigerator.
To keep track of your fluid intake, estimating how much you drink during the day isn't enough. It is important to carefully measure the amount of any fluids you drink as well as the fluid in foods, such as ice cream, gelatin, flavored ice treats, and soup. Estimating fluid intake can be very inaccurate.
To keep track of your fluid intake, keeping track of only the water you drink isn't enough. It is important to measure the amount of any fluids you drink as well as the fluid in foods, such as ice cream, gelatin, flavored ice treats, and soup.
To keep track of your fluid intake, you should measure all beverages and all foods that have a lot of fluid in them. It is important to measure the amount of any fluids you drink as well as the fluid in foods, such as ice cream, gelatin, flavored ice treats, and soup.
To keep track of your fluid intake, drinking only at meals won't help. It is important to measure the amount of any fluids you drink as well as the fluid in foods, such as ice cream, gelatin, flavored ice treats, and soup.
If you have questions about this information, take it with you when you visit your cardiologist, family doctor, dietitian, or nurse. You may want to mark areas or make notes in the margins of the pages where you have questions.
If you would like more information on fluid intake in heart failure, the following resource is available:
American Heart Association (AHA)
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75231
Visit the American Heart Association (AHA) website for information on physical activity, diet, and various heart-related conditions. You can search for information on heart disease and stroke, share information with friends and family, and use tools to help you make heart-healthy goals and plans. Contact the AHA to find your nearest local or state AHA group. The AHA provides brochures and information about support groups and community programs, including Mended Hearts, a nationwide organization whose members visit people with heart problems and provide information and support.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20824-0105
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) information center offers information and publications about preventing and treating:
Diseases affecting the heart and circulation, such as heart attacks, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, and heart problems present at birth (congenital heart diseases).
Diseases that affect the lungs, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, sleep apnea, and pneumonia.
Diseases that affect the blood, such as anemia, hemochromatosis, hemophilia, thalassemia, and von Willebrand disease.
National Institutes of Health Senior Health
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
1-800-222-2225 Aging Information Center
This website for older adults offers aging-related health information. The website's senior-friendly features include large print, simple navigation, and short, easy-to-read segments of information. A visitor to this website can click special buttons to hear the text aloud, make the text larger, or turn on higher contrast for easier viewing.
The site was developed by the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine, both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIHSeniorHealth features up-to-date health information from NIH. Also, the American Geriatrics Society provides independent review of some of the material found on this website.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.