Posts Tagged ‘surgery’


Heart Health

Mitral Valve Prolapse

At 30, I was diagnosed as having Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP).  The mitral valve between the left atrium and left ventricle does not close properly and may “leak”.  This is a common cause for hearing a murmur when listing with a stethoscope.  At that time, I had several tests run and was told it was not an immediate concern and I should have periodic monitoring to see that it didn’t worsen.  Seeing as how I felt fine, I said “OK” and returned to my normal routine and didn’t really give it much additional thought.

Then, during a routine physical in 2002, my doctor in Cleveland commented on the murmur and recommended a followup — it had been over 10 years since my original (and only) testing.  I still felt fine, but went ahead with the request.  The ultrasound showed “significant” regurgitation (leaking), but I was still feeling good and had no related problems.  It was decided to monitor for any changes.  Again,  I said “OK” and returned to my normal routine and was not concerned.

Things Change

This summer, things changed.  I had a heart attack that required intervention.  Two stents were placed and I was put on blood pressure medication – and it was suggested I reduce my weight.  I definitely needed to lose weight as I had allowed my self to gain 60-plus pounds in the last 10 years.  It was also noted that the MVP was present and I had significant regurgitation – 3-plus on a scale of 0-4.  This would now need frequent monitoring to avoid future complications.

Self portrait.

Self portrait from my hospital bed

I was feeling good and looking forward to getting home when  my hospital stay was lengthened for a couple of days of monitoring due to a short episode of atrial fibrillation. Like the MVP, I was asymptomatic and unaware of the atrial fibrillation.

After I was back home, I began making necessary changes to my diet. No more “convenience” foods from the freezer section at the grocery store.  I enjoy cooking, so I started fixing all of my meals with consideration for heart health.  Low sodium does not have to be low flavor.  This part was actually easy.  I also started back with my bicycling.  10-20 miles to start and then up from there.  I was feeling great!

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