One important thing to do if you're an adult with congenital heart disease is to become educated about your condition. Topics you should become familiar with include:
- The name and details of your heart condition and its past treatment
- How often you should be seen for follow-up care
- Information about your medications and their side effects
- How to prevent heart infections (endocarditis), if necessary
- Exercise guidelines and any work restrictions
- Birth control and family planning information
- Health insurance information and coverage options
- Dental care information, including whether you need antibiotics before major dental procedures
- Symptoms of your congenital heart disease and when you should contact your doctor
Each person with congenital heart disease has a different set of risks and concerns, so it's hard to generalize what's best for you. This is why it's so important to have regular communication with your doctor to discuss self-care options, including what activities you can do safely or what you should avoid.
Many adults with congenital heart disease lead full, long and productive lives. But it's important not to ignore your condition. Become informed about your disease; the more you know, the better you'll do.
May 08, 2014
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- Lifestyle changes for heart failure. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/PreventionTreatmentofHeartFailure/Lifestyle-Changes-for-Heart-Failure_UCM_306341_Article.jsp. Accessed Dec. 26, 2013.
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