Recent Blog Articles
Improving access to hearing aids
Can mindfulness change your brain?
Five lifestyle factors that can help prevent gastroesophageal reflux disease
Transient ischemic attacks: Varied symptoms, all important
5 inflammation-fighting food swaps
Is IBD an underrecognized health problem in minority groups?
Sickle cell disease in newborns and children: What families should know and do
COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens: What we do — and don’t — know
Happy trails: Take a hike, now
Sleep well — and reduce your risk of dementia and death
Ask the doctor: Can I exercise even though my valves are leaking a little bit?
Ask the doctor
Can I exercise even though my valves are leaking a little bit?
Q. At 78 years old, I am in pretty good shape. A couple of years ago, an echocardiogram showed a small leak in my mitral valve. A year later, a follow-up test showed some leakage in my tricuspid valve. The valves aren't causing me any problems right now, but how will I know if they need to be repaired? I like to exercise, but don't want to make these valve problems worse. Is it okay for me to walk on a treadmill at a speed of 3 to 4 miles an hour or lift light weights?
A. For three of the four cardiac valves — the mitral, tricuspid, and pulmonic valves — a little bit of leakage is completely normal. In fact, for the mitral and tricuspid valves, the backflow of blood occurs well before the valve closes. Modern echocardiography equipment is so sensitive that virtually everyone's echocardiogram shows some leakage of the mitral and tricuspid valves, provided the images are technically reasonable. So, if your doctor tells you that you have a little mitral and tricuspid valve regurgitation, but you don't need to worry about it, don't let it interfere with your exercise program.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.