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Mitral Valve Stenosis (cont.)

Living With Mitral Valve Stenosis

Long-term mitral valve stenosis can cause serious heart damage. But you can help yourself live fully by working with your doctor and having a healthy lifestyle.

Get check-ups

Talk to your doctor about how often you need to be examined. You will likely have regular echocardiograms so your doctor can keep track of any changes in your condition. How often you get the test depends on how bad your stenosis is.

Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms. For more information, see When to Call a Doctor.

Exercise with care

Ask your doctor what level of exercise is safe for you. Exercise helps keep your heart and body healthy. But when you have mitral valve stenosis, exercise can put extra strain on your heart and cause symptoms like fluid buildup in your lungs. So exercise with care and be aware of any symptoms like shortness of breath. If you don't exercise, talk to your doctor before you start.

If your stenosis is mild and you don't have symptoms, your doctor may encourage you to do low-level aerobic exercise.

If your stenosis is moderate or severe and you have symptoms, you should avoid strenuous activity. You may be able to do low-level activities to help keep your heart healthy.

People who have severe stenosis may need to be cautious about their level of physical activity. You may be able to do certain types of exercise that won't strain your heart.

Limit your sodium

Depending on how bad your symptoms are, your doctor may advise you to limit sodium. If you consume too much sodium, it will cause your body to retain excess fluid. Excess fluid in the body will cause swelling, trouble breathing, fatigue, and other side effects.

Cutting back on sodium usually includes avoiding foods such as potato chips, pretzels, processed meats and cheeses, canned soups, and fast foods.

When you shop for groceries, check labels carefully for hidden sodium.

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