If you have heart failure and are having trouble taking a breath when you bend over to tie your shoes or put your socks on, it’s important to tell your doctor. You may have something called bendopnea. Bendopnea may be a warning sign that your heart failure is getting worse. You may need to be on additional meds, or your doctor may need to monitor you more closely.
Bendopnea may be a sign that you have more fluid in your body. This is called edema. Edema is the medical word for swelling. This creates excess pressure and strain on the heart.
Bendopnea is not the only symptom of edema. Other signs you have edema include:
- Difficulty breathing at other times
- Increased size of the abdomen (maybe your waistband is feeling tighter than normal)
- Obvious swelling; if you push a finger on a swollen area for a few seconds, it leaves a temporary dent
- Rapid weight gain
If you have edema, there are steps you can take to decrease swelling.
- Cut back on salt in your diet. Too much salt can cause fluid retention. Eating less processed food and more fresh food is a good way to do this.
- Ask your doctor about diuretics. Going on a diuretic or adjusting your dose may help.
- Make sure your blood pressure is in range. High blood pressure can strain the heart and make you hold onto excess fluid.
- Restrict fluids. Talk to your doctor about how much fluid you can safely drink.
Besides looking out for symptoms, weighing yourself daily can help you notice any sudden changes. Weigh yourself each morning on the Livongo scale. Do this after you’ve gone to the bathroom but before you’ve eaten. Wear similar clothing each time. The Livongo app will record your weight so you can track it easily. If your weight goes up by more than 3 pounds in 2 days or 5 pounds in a week, call your provider. You’ll also want to call your provider if your weight goes down unexpectedly by more than a few pounds.