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Mitral Valve Stenosis - Living With Mitral Valve Stenosis

Long-term mitral valve stenosis can cause serious heart damage. But you can help yourself live fully by working with your doctor and having a healthy lifestyle.

Make healthy lifestyle changes

  • If you smoke, try to quit. Medicines and counseling can help you quit for good.
  • Your doctor will also recommend that you follow a heart-healthy diet and limit how much sodium you eat.
  • Be active, but you might need to avoid strenuous exercise. Ask your doctor what level of exercise is safe for you. Exercise helps keep your heart and body healthy. But when you have mitral valve stenosis, exercise can put extra strain on your heart and cause symptoms like fluid buildup in your lungs. So exercise with care and be aware of any symptoms like shortness of breath. If you don't exercise, talk to your doctor before you start.
    • If your stenosis is mild and you don't have symptoms, your doctor may encourage you to do low-level aerobic exercise.
    • If your stenosis is moderate or severe and you have symptoms, you should avoid strenuous activity. You may be able to do low-level activities to help keep your heart healthy.
    • People who have severe stenosis may need to be cautious about their level of physical activity. You may be able to do certain types of exercise that won't strain your heart.
  • 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 to assess your heart, such as echocardiograms. 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.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 08, 2014
    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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