Not over exerting yourself is important when living with heart failure. There are subjective measures that are useful to remember if you are being physically active. They can be a tool for stopping your activity before it becomes something more serious.
Dyspnea describes a condition where a person is short of breath or having difficult breathing. It is the subjective feeling of being out of breath; caused by heart or lung disorders, strenuous activity, high anxiety or stress.
The Dyspnea Index is one measure of shortness of breath for determining exertion levels.
Level 0: No shortness of breath; can count to 15 (takes about 8 seconds) without taking a breath in the sequence.
Level 1: Mild shortness of breath; can count to 15 but must take one short breath in the sequence.
Level 2: Moderate shortness of breath; need to take 2 breaths to count to 15 in the sequence.
Level 3: Definite shortness of breath; must take three breaths in the sequence of counting to 15.
Reduce level of intensity and use breathing control techniques.
Level 4: Severe shortness of breath; unable to count or speak.
Cease activity immediately!
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Borg's Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
The Borg's scale measures a person's perceived effort of exertion. The scale helps a person tune into how hard it is to do a particular activity. The same activity may be more or less different from day to day. What is important is to slow down or rest when an activity begins to get into the somewhat hard range (12 to 14).
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