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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Mitral stenosis is a condition where the mitral valve in your heart is narrow. The mitral valve is between the left ventricle and left atrium of your heart. The lower left ventricle pumps blood into your upper left atrium. The valve opens and closes to direct blood flow through your heart. When the mitral valve is narrowed, blood flow through your heart may decrease. Your tissues and other organs will not have enough oxygen and nutrients to function properly.
- Antibiotics: This medicine will help fight or prevent an infection. You may need it if you had rheumatic fever in the past so you do not get it again. You may need to take the medicine every day, or once a month.
- Heart medicine: This medicine is given to slow your heart rate and help your heart fill with blood. This will help your heart pump blood to your body more efficiently.
- Diuretics: This medicine is given to remove extra fluid that has collected in your heart, lungs, or legs. They are often called water pills. You may urinate more often when you take this medicine.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Examples of blood thinners include heparin and warfarin. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. The following are general safety guidelines to follow while you are taking a blood thinner:
- Watch for bleeding and bruising while you take blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.
- Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
- Do not start or stop any medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with blood thinners.
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.
- Warfarin is a blood thinner that you may need to take. The following are things you should be aware of if you take warfarin.
- Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.
- You will need to see your healthcare provider for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider or cardiologist as directed:
You may need to return for more tests to check your heart. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Decrease the amount of salt and caffeine you eat or drink. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
- Exercise: This will improve your heart health. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Start slowly and increase activity as you get stronger. Stop if you feel short of breath.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
Contact your healthcare provider or cardiologist if:
- You are bleeding from your nose or gums.
- The veins in your neck look swollen or are bulging.
- You have a fever.
- You have blood in your urine or bowel movements.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- Your heart is beating faster than normal for you, and you feel fluttering in your chest.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
- You have chest pain that feels like squeezing, pressure, or fullness.
- You have chest pain that lasts for more than a few minutes or returns.
- You are nauseated and have trouble breathing.
- You have a severe headache, a cold sweat, and feel lightheaded or dizzy.
- You have weakness or numbness in one arm or leg, or on one side of your face.
- You are confused and cannot speak clearly.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.