I come from a family of heart disease. Mom, dad, two brothers, all have had it. Mom, dad and both brothers and myself have had high blood pressure. Both mom and dad had strokes, now passed on. My oldest brother who two years a ago had triple bypass and aortic valve replaced. My younger brother triple bypass at forty six, he is now sixty six.
Recently my older brother, who is about to turn seventy, three years post surgery with valve replacement, has encountered Endocarditis. A infection of the inner lining of the heart. The one of many causes of this, is bacteria that goes into the bloodstream that can come from your mouth, it can be simple dental procedures. Being he has had a valve replacement, he was at higher risk.
Very important to make sure you are taking medication a few hours before any dental surgery, never dismiss the fact that something can enter the body through your bloodstream that can damage your heart. He did not take it before a bonding procedure and that could have caused his illness.
It is very important if you have symptoms of fever, rash, confusion, fatigue, chills to get to a doctor. He thought he had the flu. My brother didn't act upon those signs, ended up having a stroke causing a car accident as well. After several tests, if you are lucky enough (as he was) the valve replaced was not damaged from the bacteria produced, then antibiotic treatment will be administered through IV in the hospital then for several weeks after that.
His treatment procedure was basically a catheter wire that leads into the heart with antibiotics. Then for several weeks after being discharged he would be on antibiotics. Pay attention to everything after surgery your doctors tell you to do. Missing a dose of medicine can compromise that surgery. Take nothing for granted.
Learn the warning signs, read everything you can and don't wait. Endocarditis can be fatal if not treated.
Some important things to remember, have good oral hygiene, try to avoid dental procedures that include cutting. Healthy gums are important. Taking your medications as prescribed are also important. Also do not disregard bleeding gums, injections, pierced tongues etc, the mouth is a harbor for bacteria. When in doubt if you are a valve replacement or heart patient, take your prescribed medications first as a precaution do not take it for granted.
Eat healthy foods, exercise and talk to you doctor. If you suspect you have any of those symptoms above go to the emergency room immediately. Don't assume you have the onset of flu. The good news is after 6 weeks of intervenous drugs straight into his heart he fully recovered with no additional surgery needed. Know your body and the warning signs. Flu like systems in heart recipients along with fever needs immediate attention, especially if you had any dental procedures recently without taking your prescription.
Here is a typical day of healthy heart diets:
1 cup cooked oatmeal, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cinnamon and chopped walnuts
1 cup skim milk
1 cup low-fat (1 percent or lower) plain yogurt with 1 teaspoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup peach halves
5 Melba toast crackers
1 cup raw broccoli and cauliflower
2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese, plain or vegetable flavor (as a spread for crackers or vegetable dip)