To improve your quality of life if you have aortic valve regurgitation, your physician may — in addition to other treatments — recommend that you:
- Control high blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure reduces the strain on your aortic valve.
- Use less salt. Cutting back on how much salt you use helps you maintain your blood pressure within a normal range, which is important if you have aortic valve regurgitation.
- See your dentist regularly. Follow your recommended schedule for care.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Keep your weight within a range recommended by your doctor. Extra weight makes extra work for your heart.
- Exercise. Follow an exercise program within guidelines recommended by your doctor. He or she may recommend a certain intensity level according to the severity of your aortic valve regurgitation. Exercise itself does not fix this condition, but it can help to lower your blood pressure. Exercise also helps maintain your general fitness, which will help with your recovery if you need heart surgery.
- See your doctor regularly. Establish a regular evaluation schedule with your cardiologist or primary care provider.
If you're a woman of childbearing age with aortic valve regurgitation, discuss pregnancy and family planning with your doctor because your heart works harder during pregnancy. How a heart with aortic valve regurgitation tolerates this extra work depends on the degree of leakage and how well your heart pumps. If you become pregnant, you'll need evaluation by your cardiologist and obstetrician throughout your pregnancy, labor and delivery, and after delivery.
Sep. 22, 2011
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