Your family doctor may be the first to suspect mitral valve stenosis. After your initial appointment, your doctor may refer you to a doctor who specializes in heart conditions (cardiologist).
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
- Write down your symptoms and when they started.
- List your key medical information, including other health problems and prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend to the appointment, if possible. Someone who accompanies you can help remember the information you get.
- Write down the questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor at your initial appointment include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for these symptoms?
- What tests do I need?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Do I need to restrict anything before my cardiologist appointment?
Questions to ask if you are referred to a cardiologist include:
- What is my diagnosis?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- What are the possible side effects of the medications you're recommending?
- What will my recovery be like from the procedure you're recommending?
- How will you monitor my health over time?
- What is my risk of long-term complications from this condition?
- What restrictions do I need to follow?
- Will physical activity, including sex, increase my risk of complications?
- What diet and lifestyle changes should I make?
- I have these other health problems. How can I best manage them together?
It's important for you to understand your condition. Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
A doctor or cardiologist who sees you for possible mitral valve stenosis may ask:
- What are your symptoms?
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have your symptoms worsened?
- Do you have rapid, fluttering or pounding heartbeats?
- Have you coughed up blood?
- Does exercise or physical activity worsen your symptoms?
- Are you aware of a family history of heart problems?
- Have you had rheumatic fever?
- Are you being treated or have you recently been treated for any other health conditions?
- Do you or did you smoke? How much? When did you quit?
- Do you use alcohol or caffeine? How much?
- Are you planning to become pregnant in the future?
What you can do in the meantime
While you wait for your appointment, ask family members whether close relatives have cardiac disease. The symptoms of mitral valve stenosis are similar to other heart conditions, including some that run in families. Knowing about your family's health history will help your doctor determine your diagnosis and treatment.
If exercise makes your symptoms worse, avoid exerting yourself physically until you've seen your doctor.