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Aortic Valve Regurgitation (cont.)

Living With Aortic Regurgitation

Having aortic valve regurgitation means that your heart is working overtime to keep up with your body's needs. Your doctor will probably suggest lifestyle changes to help your heart.

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 salt you eat.
  • If you don't have symptoms of aortic valve regurgitation and your left ventricle is working well, your doctor may suggest regular, light aerobic exercise, such as walking. But don't start an exercise program on your own without first talking with your doctor. You may need some tests to see what sort of exercise is safe for you.
  • 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

  • Report any symptoms of chest pain or pressure, fainting, and shortness of breath to your doctor right away. These are signs that you are likely to need surgery.
  • If your aortic valve regurgitation is severe, your doctor will probably advise you to avoid strenuous physical activity.
  • See your doctor regularly, and get the tests you need to assess your heart, such as echocardiograms. For more information, see Exams and Tests.
  • 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 shot every year.
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