Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

You'll have regular follow-up appointments with your doctor to monitor your condition.

While lifestyle changes can't prevent or treat your condition, your doctor might suggest that you incorporate several heart-healthy lifestyle changes into your life. These may include:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, poultry, fish, and whole grains. Avoid saturated and trans fat, and excess salt and sugar.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Aim to keep a healthy weight. If you're overweight or obese, your doctor may recommend that you lose weight.
  • Getting regular physical activity. Aim to include about 30 minutes of physical activity, such as brisk walks, into your daily fitness routine. Ask your doctor for guidance before starting to exercise, especially if you're considering competitive sports.
  • Managing stress. Find ways to help manage your stress, such as through relaxation activities, meditation, physical activity, and spending time with family and friends.
  • Avoiding tobacco. If you smoke, quit. Ask your doctor about resources to help you quit smoking. Joining a support group may be helpful.
  • Controlling high blood pressure. If you're taking blood pressure medication, ensure you take it as your doctor has prescribed.

For women with aortic valve regurgitation, it's important to talk with your doctor before you become pregnant. Your doctor can discuss with you which medications you can safely take, and whether you may need a procedure to treat your valve condition prior to pregnancy.

You'll likely require close monitoring by your doctor during pregnancy. Doctors may recommend that women with severe valve conditions avoid pregnancy to avoid the risk of complications.

Prevention

For any heart condition, see your doctor regularly so he or she can monitor you and possibly catch aortic valve regurgitation or other heart condition before it develops or in the early stages, when it's more easily treatable. If you have been diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve (aortic valve regurgitation) or a tight aortic valve (aortic valve stenosis), you'll probably require regular echocardiograms to be sure the aortic valve regurgitation doesn't become severe.

Also, be aware of conditions that contribute to developing aortic valve regurgitation, including:

  • Rheumatic fever. If you have a severe sore throat, see a doctor. Untreated strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever. Fortunately, strep throat is easily treated with antibiotics.
  • High blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly. Make sure it's well-controlled to prevent aortic regurgitation.