Monitoring your weight is important because your weight is one way to tell if your heart failure is getting worse, and/or if your medications are working to reduce excess body fluid. Fluid retention can be a sign of worsening heart failure or a sign that your medications need to be adjusted.
When you weigh yourself:
1. Use the same scale every day.
2. Wear similar clothing each time you weigh yourself.
3. Weigh yourself at the same time each day (for example, when you get up on the morning).
4. Weigh yourself before eating and after urinating.
5. Record your weight in a diary or on a calendar.
6. Learn what your dry weight is. This is your weight without extra water (fluid).
7. Weigh yourself in the morning after you are discharged from the hospital. One pound less than this will be your dry weight. Your goal is to keep your weight within four pounds of your dry weight.
8. Compare your actual daily weight to your dry weight. Call your doctor or nurse if you gain or lose more than or equal to 4 pounds from your dry weight.
9. Your dry weight will change as your heart failure improves or as you lose or gain body weight due to your lifestyle. At each visit to your doctor or nurse, ask what your dry weight is.
Download the Daily Weight Chart
Fluid intake If your doctor requires you to restrict your fluids, record the amount of liquids you drink/eat every day. You may need to restrict your fluids to 8¼ cups (which is equal to 2 liters or 64 ounces) every 24 hours. Recording your fluid intake will help make sure that you are not taking in more fluids than expected. It is a good idea to write this information on a calendar. To record your fluid intake, you will need to learn the number of cubic centimeters (cc) or milliliters (ml) in common servings. Some sample measurements are included in the box below.
1 ml = 1 cc
1 ounce = 30 cc
1 cup = 8 ounces = 240 cc
4 cups = 32 ounces = 1 quart or liter = 1000 cc
Coffee cup = 200 cc
Clear glass = 240 cc
Milk carton = 240 cc
Small milk carton = 120 cc
Juice, gelatin or ice cream cup = 120 cc
Soup bowl = 160 cc
Popsicle® half = 40 cc
Note that some foods are considered to be "fluids." These include pudding, gelatin (such as Jell-O®), all soups (thick or thin), Popsicles@reg; and ice cream.
Keep a record of daily fluid intake until you feel at ease with your fluid restriction and can figure out your fluid intake without measuring liquids.
One way to keep track of your fluid intake:
Fill a 2-quart pitcher or 2-liter soda bottle to the top with water and place it in plain view in the kitchen. Every time you drink or eat something that is considered a fluid, remove the same amount of water from the pitcher/bottle. When the pitcher/bottle is empty, you have had your limit of fluids for the day.
Note: Being thirsty does not mean your body needs more fluid. You need to be careful NOT to replace the fluids that diuretics (water pills) have helped your body get rid of. Here are some tips for decreasing thirst:
- Nibble on frozen grapes or strawberries
- Suck on hard candy or chew sugarless gum
- Suck on ice chips (not cubes), a sucker or washcloth soaked in ice cold water
- Avoid milk or ice cream products, as they increase thirst
- Cover your lips with petroleum jelly, flavored lip balm, or lip moisturizer
- Avoid sodium (salt), as it increases thirst