Isabel’s Tips for Medication and Symptoms Self-Management
Isabel lived with heart failure for 11 years before having a heart transplant in 2021. Self-care and self-management continue to be essential to her health.
Isabel offers the following tips for people living with heart failure, but may be helpful to others:
- Weigh Yourself Daily and Monitor Fluid Intake.
Always weigh yourself in the morning after using the washroom and before your first meal of the day. Keep records of your daily weight, as this can help you identify any unusual increases. If you have gained more than two pounds in one day or five pounds in a one week, this may be a sign that you are retaining fluid. If you use the Medly app, report your weight and other measurements accordingly. Contact your medical team or follow the prompts in the Medly app if there is any unusual increase in your weight.
- Monitor for Swelling
If you notice swelling of your ankles, unusual bulging of the abdomen, and/shortness of breath, report it to your doctor. If the swelling becomes urgent and your ability to breathe properly is impacted, call or go to the nearest emergency immediately.
- Follow any Fluid Restriction Instructions Provided by your Cardiologist
Keep track of your fluid intake throughout the day by writing down how much you drink and monitoring if you are peeing about the same volume you’ve consumed. If you are peeing less than you’ve drank, monitor for swelling in your ankles or belly and shortness of breath. Report any of these symptoms to Medly or your medical team accordingly. Again, if these symptoms worsen, go to the nearest emergency or call 911 immediately.
- Take Your Medications as Prescribed by Your Doctor
- Carefully follow your prescription instructions, including dosage, frequency, and time of day.
- Get a pillbox organizer, preferably one with morning, day, and night compartments for each day of the week. This will help you organize your medications and ensure you are not forgetting or taking any medications incorrectly.
- Consider asking your pharmacist for a blister packs with your pills organized by day and time.
- Schedule your phone or watch alarm as reminders throughout the day to make sure you take your medications at the correct time.
- Ask your doctor and/or pharmacist if you have any questions about your medications.
- Refill your prescriptions before they run out
- Begin refilling your prescriptions about 10 business days before they run out, accounting for weekends and holidays.
- If your prescription refills have run out, ask your doctor to renew before running out. This is especially important for time-critical medications, such as those for post-transplant patients.
- Your pharmacist can also send a refill request to your doctor. However, make sure you request it ahead of time, as it can take up to several days for your doctor to respond.
- For refills and/or new medications, always follow-up with the pharmacy to ensure that they have received the request so that you can get your medications on time.