To prevent heart valve disease caused by rheumatic fever, see your doctor if you have signs of a strep infection. These signs include a painful sore throat, fever, and white spots on your tonsils. If you do have a strep infection, be sure to take all medicines prescribed to treat it. Prompt treatment of strep infections can prevent rheumatic fever, which damages the heart valves.
It's possible that exercise, a heart-healthy diet, and medicines that lower cholesterol might prevent
aortic stenosis (thickening and stiffening of the aortic valve). Researchers continue to study this possibility.
Heart-healthy eating, physical activity, other
heart-healthy lifestyle changes, and medicines aimed at preventing a heart attack, high blood pressure, or heart failure also may help prevent heart valve disease.
Heart valve disease is a lifelong condition. However, many people have heart valve defects or disease but don't have symptoms. For some people, the condition mostly stays the same throughout their lives and doesn't cause any problems.
For other people, the condition slowly worsens until symptoms develop. If not treated, advanced heart valve disease can cause heart failure or other life-threatening conditions.
Eventually, you may need to have your faulty heart valve(s) repaired or replaced. After repair or replacement, you'll still need certain medicines and regular checkups with your doctor.
If you have heart valve disease, see your doctor regularly for checkups and for echocardiography or other tests. This will allow your doctor to check the progress of your heart valve disease.
Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen or you have new symptoms. Also, discuss with your doctor whether heart-healthy lifestyle changes might benefit you. Ask them which types of physical activity are safe for you.
Call your doctor if you have symptoms of infective endocarditis. Symptoms of this heart infection include fever, chills, muscle aches, night sweats, problems breathing, fatigue, weakness, red spots on your palms and soles of your feet, and swelling of the feet, legs, and belly.
Take all of your medicines as prescribed.
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Outpatient Services is an outpatient facility owned and operated by Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano. When a patient, evaluated at
The Heart Valve Center of Texas, requires surgical intervention and treatment, the center's care coordinator facilitates the process with The Heart Hospital and assists the patient through the necessary steps for treatment and follow-up care.
If you are in need of heart valve care and an evaluation of your condition, talk to your physician about a referral to The Heart Valve Center of Texas.
Physicians are members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health's subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and are neither employees nor agents of those medical centers, Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano or Baylor Scott & White Health.