MANDEEP R. MEHRA, MBBS, FACC: There are a number of dietary restrictions that a patient with heart failure should follow. And foremost in them is the need for salt in their diet. A patient should know the salt content of almost every dietary food that they are exposed to. It is very vital that they understand how to read the labels on canned food items, for instance, because one will be surprised by looking at many of these labels as to how much salt is contained in many of these foods. For example, chicken broth is loaded with salt. Chinese food is very, very, very rich in salt, and one has to be very careful with their diet.
JACQUELINE A. NOONAN, MD, FACC: When you have heart failure, you can collect fluid called edema and that is promoted more if you take too much salt. Now, today, we have many more drugs that help to get rid of fluid. We have diuretics; those are drugs that will help the body get rid of excess fluid. But this is something that the doctor will talk to you, depending on your particular kind of heart failure, how much salt and how you need to adjust your diet to make the best treatment for your heart failure.