Excessive fatigue is a common symptom of congestive heart failure, but there are steps you can take to relieve it.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a type of heart failure that causes congestion in the body’s tissues.
In CHF, blood pumps out of the heart too slowly, causing the blood that’s returning to the heart to back up inside the veins. This can cause fluid to build up in the lungs, abdomen, and feet.
Fluid buildup can lead to shortness of breath, tiredness, and fatigue.
This article will explore how congestive heart failure can cause excessive sleepiness and fatigue. We’ll discuss whether rest can help with CHF and provide tips on how to get more energy when living with CHF.
People who experience tiredness and fatigue due to CHF may have difficulty carrying out their daily activities and may experience:
- shortness of breath during physical activity
- weakness in the legs when walking
- sleepiness after eating
Certain heart medications — such as beta-blockers — can also cause tiredness or fatigue as a side effect.
According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), people with heart failure should try to remain as active as possible. Long periods of inactivity will weaken the body, which will ultimately worsen tiredness.
In contrast, engaging in regular physical activity can help to increase blood flow, boost energy levels, and improve overall health.
Your doctor will need to carry out an assessment to determine how much exercise you can safely do. They may also tailor an exercise program to suit your specific needs.
Here are some tips on boosting energy levels when living with heart failure:
- Talk with your doctor or cardiologist: Consider making an appointment to see your doctor or cardiologist, particularly if tiredness and fatigue are becoming more frequent or if you suspect a certain medication may be contributing to these symptoms.
- Engage in physical activity: When feeling tired, physical activity may be the last thing you want to do. But exercise helps increase the flow of oxygenated blood around the body, giving you an energy boost. Even doing some housework or going for a short walk can help boost energy levels and may improve sleep. Talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise plan to ensure it is safe.
- Eat slow-release foods: Try eating whole grains and high fiber foods. These take longer for the body to digest, meaning they will provide a slow and steady release of energy. This will help to prevent energy dips or crashes.
- Eat regularly: Make sure to eat enough food to support your energy needs, and try to eat regular meals throughout the day for sustained energy release.
- Stay hydrated: Even mild dehydration can cause a person to feel tired and sluggish. Try to drink plenty of water and other fluids to maintain hydration.
- Get enough sleep: A lack of sleep is one of the most obvious causes of tiredness, but it can be difficult to address. Some tips for improving sleep include:
- going to bed and waking up at the same time each day
- taking time to relax before going to bed
- ensuring that your sleeping environment is dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable
- Manage your mood: Stress, anxiety, and depression can make you feel tired and exhausted. The following may help you to boost your mood and mental well-being:
- socialize with family and friends
- find ways to reduce your workload at home or at work
- try activities, such as yoga, meditation, or mindfulness
- try talk therapy
Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart no longer pumps enough oxygen-rich blood to support the body’s needs. This can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, tiredness, and fatigue.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, long periods of rest may not help your overall physical condition and actually worsen tiredness and fatigue. Consider talking with your doctor or cardiologist about exercises and activities you can safely do to help boost your energy levels.
Other ways you can boost energy include eating slow-release foods, staying hydrated, and working on ways to improve your sleep quality and mood.