Diastolic heart failure -- a condition in which the heart's left ventricle becomes too stiff to relax and pump enough blood -- is a common form of heart failure, and affects more women than men. Because self-care can slow the disease's progression and decrease morbidity and mortality, women's health nurses must be prepared to educate patients about the disease and its symptoms, and engage them in self-care, asserts a review article in Nursing for Women's Health. Two recent studies shed light on key aspects of self-care, which includes obtaining daily weight, maintaining a low-sodium diet, getting regular exercise and being aware of exacerbating symptoms such as shortness of breath, activity intolerance and fatigue. The first study suggests that an individualized walking/exercise program for women with DHF can improve their total sleep time, quality of life and depressive symptoms. The second study suggested that women have lower confidence in their abilities to perform self-care then men with DHF. Read the abstract.

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