Make healthy lifestyle changes
- If you smoke, try to quit. Medicines and counseling can help you quit for good. Avoid secondhand smoke too.
- Your doctor will also recommend that you follow a heart-healthy diet and limit how much sodium you eat.
- Be active, but ask your doctor what level of exercise is safe for you. You may need to be cautious about physical activity if you have symptoms, irregular heart rhythms, or changes in your heart size or function. But regular activity, even low-level activity such as walking, will help keep your heart healthy. If you want to start being more active, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor will help you create a safe exercise plan. For more information, see Mitral Valve Regurgitation and Exercise.
- If you need to lose weight, try to reach and stay at a healthy weight. For help, see the topic Weight Management.
Take care of yourself
- See your doctor right away if you have new symptoms or symptoms that get worse. For more information, see When to Call a Doctor.
- See your doctor regularly. And get the tests you need, such as echocardiograms, to assess your heart. For more information, see Exams and Tests.
- Manage other health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
- Practice good dental hygiene and have regular checkups. Good dental health is especially important, because bacteria can spread from infected teeth and gums to the heart valves.
- Get a flu vaccine every year. Get a pneumococcal vaccine shot. If you have had one before, ask your doctor if you need another dose.
- Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about sex and your heart. Your doctor can help you know if or when it's okay for you to have sex.