Diet and Nutrition

As DCM progresses in individuals, weight gain is a distinct possibility. Weight gain may be due to overeating, not eating a balanced diet, medication effects, and as DCM progresses, weight gain could represent fluid retention. Additional weight and fluid create stress on the heart, so monitoring weight and diet, and water consumption is critical. Your doctor will advise you if you need to restrict fluid intake, or change your diet. Again, there is not a “one size fits all” for DCM patients, so make sure you ask your doctor for advice in this area.

Salt intake becomes a concern if fluid retention is a problem. There are many guidelines for salt intake levels, and what foods to monitor, which increase salt levels. Not every patient will have this problem, but your doctor will advise you, and even in serious cases may prescribe medicine to reduce fluid, if you do have this problem.

Monitoring your weight on a daily basis is a good practice to develop for those with DCM. An increase in weight can indicate a fluid retention problem. Take the results of these daily readings with you for your regular checkups with your doctor. Changes in the trends are usually more important than the actual numbers, and your doctor will let you know if there is a problem.

It is always good practice to eat a healthy diet in reasonable amounts. There are many resources available on the Internet to guide you to healthy eating practices if you want to improve in this area.

If you use vitamins and supplements for your health, keep a list of them to show your doctor at your regular visits. It’s a good idea to keep a list of these with your medications so they can be reviewed on a regular basis. If you currently do not use vitamins or supplements, check with your doctor before you begin to use them.

Alcohol and/or marijuana consumption by patients with DCM is strongly discouraged. There have been no studies demonstrating positive results from alcohol and/or marijuana use by patients with DCM. Consult with your doctor and ask how using these substances will affect your DCM.