Glasses of Water

The Effect of Limiting Sodium & Water Intake on Heart Failure

Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, with 1 in every 4 deaths being caused by heart disease. This broad category encompasses a wide variety of cardiovascular conditions and diseases, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, and cardiomyopathy. One of the most serious of these conditions is heart failure — a chronic, progressive condition in which your heart is unable to pump enough blood and oxygen to support the other organs in your body.


Approximately 6.2 million adults in the United States have heart failure, and nearly 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Not only is heart failure responsible for more than 11 million physician visits each year, but it’s also the cause of more hospitalizations than all forms of cancer combined. This article goes over everything you need to know about how limiting your water and sodium intake can impact your heart failure. If you need any assistance reducing your sodium and fluid intake or are curious about other treatment options available for heart failure, consult Jesal V. Popat, M.D., a top cardiologist in Tampa.

Related: Coronary Heart Disease: Treating the Deadliest Disease in America

What Does Your Sodium and Water Intake Have to Do With Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure (CHF) occurs when fluid builds up around your heart and, thus, causes it to pump inefficiently. As a result of your ventricles being unable to pump enough blood volume to the body, you may experience a backup of blood and other fluids inside your lungs, abdomen, lower body, and liver. When you have too much excess fluid inside your body, you’ll experience something known as hypervolemia or fluid overload. This is a serious condition as it can lead to several life-threatening complications, such as pericarditis, delayed wound healing, decreased bowel function, and tissue breakdown. 


For this reason, it’s crucial to reduce the amount of fluid in your blood by restricting your fluid intake and sodium consumption. Limiting your sodium consumption is an effective way to reduce the likelihood of excess fluid because when you consume a great deal of sodium, your body tends to store extra fluid to balance it. High-sodium diets are also usually high in total fat and calories, which can be linked to obesity, hypertension, and other complications.

How to Reduce Your Sodium Consumption

The Heart Failure Society of America recommends 2000 to 3000 mg daily sodium intake and >2000 mg for individuals with moderate to severe heart failure. That being said, it can be difficult to know how to limit your sodium intake, especially when salt is such a crucial aspect of your current diet. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to eliminate sodium from your diet without sacrificing the dishes and flavors you’ve come to love, such as:


  • Read the Label: The best way to avoid sodium is to know the sodium content before buying packaged or canned foods. You’ll want to look for unsalted, sodium-free, or very low sodium foods and avoid those with sodium listed as one of the first five ingredients. 


  • Ditch the Salt Shaker: One shake of salt contains approximately 250 mg of sodium. By simply removing the salt shaker from your kitchen or dinner table, you’ll be making a big impact on your sodium consumption. 


  • Opt for Different Seasonings: Salt is 40 percent sodium, which means you’ll be doing yourself quite the favor by switching out this salty seasoning for some savory herbs like oregano, basil, or celery flakes.

How to Reduce Your Water Intake

Restricting your fluid intake can be a bit more difficult, but it isn’t impossible. Great ways to reduce fluid intake include sucking on sugar-free candy, chewing sugar-free gum, tracking your fluid consumption with a daily log, eating frozen fruit, and portioning out your fluid consumption throughout the day. To know exactly how much you need to be restricting your fluid intake, you’ll want to get into contact with a doctor. If, at any point, you feel short of breath, are having trouble breathing, or develop a cough that doesn’t go away, you should seek immediate medical attention. 


If you are currently battling the side effects of congestive heart failure, it’s time to put your heart first by scheduling an appointment with Jesal V. Popat, M.D., a patient advocate and nutrition-focused cardiologist in Tampa. He will review your goals, explain your treatment options, and empower you to transform your heart health.

To consult Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, a top cardiologist in Tampa, please call (813) 344-0934 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.


Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. 


The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC is not responsible nor does the medical practice approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website.

Florida Medical Clinic Cardiology

14320 Bruce B Downs Blvd.

Tampa, Florida 33613

Tel: 813.344.0934

Fax: 813.355.5020

2727 W M.L.K. Jr Blvd Ste 760,

Tampa, Florida 33607

Tel: 813.344.0934

Fax: 813.355.5020

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