How to Manage Excessive Thirst With CHF

Kenneth Knowles, MD
Medically reviewed by Kenneth Knowles, MDFebruary 16th, 2021
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Thirst in chronic heart failure (CHF) is a symptom that medical professionals have been researching for years. Currently, research shows that this dehydration stems from the syndrome itself, certain medications (diuretics), and anxiety. However, clinically advised fluid restriction therapies for CHF patients are often the core cause of extreme thirst. The practice of monitoring fluid intake is extremely important for CHF patients, as too much fluid in the body can make it increasingly difficult for a weakened heart to effectively pump. This presents the question: If CHF patients have to monitor liquid intake despite their excessive thirst, then how can they manage it?

Strategies to Relieve Thirst

Despite this conundrum, there are several ways that CHF patients can manage excessive thirst without risking dehydration or going over the recommended amount of daily fluid intake:

  • Keep a daily track of your liquids. Are you drinking enough fluids throughout the day? This is the first question you should ask if your thirst is all-consuming. Monitoring fluid intake cannot only reduce the risk of CHF complications but will also ensure that you are still drinking enough.
  • Space your liquid intake throughout the day. This tip coincides with monitoring your fluids. By pacing yourself, you avoid the risk of tempting one sip too many while still managing your thirst.
  • Stick with water.While you might be consuming the advised amount of fluids every day, unless it’s water, you’re likely only quenching the tip of the thirst iceberg.
  • Stay in the A/C. Summer is often a challenging season for people living with CHF, as the heat can increase perspiration and the risk of dehydration. To better manage your excessive thirst in the summer heat, try to stay indoors or within close proximity to air conditioning.
  • Try chewing gum or sucking on hard candy. If the temptation to quench your thirst is too great but you’ve already surpassed your allowed fluid intake for the day, you can try to relieve it without water. The act of chewing gum or sucking on hard candy can relieve dry mouth (a sensation that often cues thirst) by increasing saliva production.
  • Rinse your mouth with water. You can also try relieving your thirst or dry mouth by rinsing with water. Give it a good swish around your mouth, and then spit it down the sink.
  • Eliminate foods that count as “liquids” from your diet. Just because you aren’t drinking liquid from a cup doesn’t mean you aren’t still consuming it. Food that melts (gelatin or popsicles) or contains a lot of fluid (soup) is still considered a liquid. Removing these foods from your diet permits you more wiggle room for water intake throughout the day, which is the better option for relieving thirst.

Dehydrated? DispatchHealth is Here For You

If you’re suffering from CHF complications, like dehydration, turn to DispatchHealth. We serve people living with heart failure by providing in-home care for exacerbated symptoms. We bring personalized, same-day medical care to your home so you can recover comfortably and at a lower cost. Best of all, we’re in-network with most insurances.

Find out how DispatchHealth is responding to visit requests during coronavirus (COVID-19) by clicking this link. To request care today, simply contact us via phone, mobile app, or website.


DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.

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The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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