A Guide for Patients Having Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation
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Healthy living

By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help reduce and manage your risk factors for coronary artery disease and better maintain your heart. You can find many healthy living tips on Sunnybrook’s Your Health Matters blog at health.sunnybrook.ca.  

Heart-healthy eating

Many risk factors for heart disease – such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity and diabetes – are affected by your food choices and eating habits. Read the nutrition label on food products to help you make healthy choices. Fruits, vegetables and whole grain products are high in fibre and help to lower cholesterol. You should also limit your salt and sugar intake. Speak to a dietitian if you have any specific dietary questions.

Limit alcohol

Alcohol may increase triglycerides, which are a type of fat in the blood that makes the blood thicker and increases the risk for a clot. If you have high triglycerides, you should avoid having alcohol on a regular basis. Ask your family doctor if you are unsure about your triglyceride levels.

Take your medications

Take your medications regularly as prescribed. If you have concerns about managing your medications, speak with your community pharmacy about using a dosette (pill box) or pre-arranging your medications in weekly blister packs.

Check your blood pressure

High blood pressure puts a strain on your heart and increases the speed that plaque forms in your arteries. Check your blood pressure regularly as directed by your physician and take medications as prescribed. Minimize your sodium (salt) intake and exercise regularly.

No smoking

Smoking makes your heart work harder. It increases your heart rate, narrows blood vessels, raises blood pressure, and reduces the amount of blood, oxygen and nutrients that get to your heart. Second hand smoke can cause the same effects. By not smoking you will reduce your risks of coronary artery disease over time. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for ways of helping you stop or reduce smoking. You may also visit smokershelpline.ca or call 1-877-513-5333.

Exercise regularly

Physical activity can help you feel better, decrease symptoms and improve your heart’s function. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program or increasing your activity level. The key is to be active slowly and regularly. The goal is to do 30 minutes of activity a day for five days each week. This can be split into parts, such as three ten-minute blocks of activity.