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Mitral Valve Regurgitation - Living With Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Watch for symptoms. After you are diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation (MR), it is important to watch for symptoms of heart failure. These symptoms show that your heart is weakening and MR is getting worse. Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in your feet and ankles. If new symptoms develop or if your symptoms become worse, call your doctor.

Be active. 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.

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Limit sodium. Your doctor may advise you to limit sodium in your diet. If you consume too much salt, it will cause your body to retain excess fluid. Most of the sodium in our diets comes from processed foods, not the salt shaker. Foods to avoid include potato chips, pretzels, salted nuts, processed meats and cheeses, pizza, canned soups, canned vegetables, olives, fast foods, and frozen dinners (unless the label clearly states the product is low-sodium).

When you are grocery shopping, check labels carefully for sodium content. Your doctor may advise you to limit salt to less than 2,300 mg a day. Add more fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet to replace foods high in sodium. Read labels carefully to identify sources of hidden sodium in your diet.

Prevent endocarditis. Take good care of your teeth, and see your dentist regularly. If you have an artificial valve, you may need to take antibiotics before you have certain dental or surgical procedures. The antibiotics help prevent an infection in your heart called endocarditis.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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