Question: What can I do to keep my bypass grafts healthy?

Answer: The most important thing that a patient can do, that you can do, to keep your bypass grafts healthy is to reduce all risk factors and to listen carefully to the physician who's taking care of you. We know without a doubt that aspirin and any platelet-inhibitors -- baby aspirin, in particular -- are very, very helpful for preventing small clots to form on these grafts.

But the other things that you can do are to modify risk factors, and that means a whole new life change for you. You must exercise. You must be involved in regular activity that raises your heart rate, makes you breathe a little bit harder, and gets you feeling tired. That's very important for the strength of your heart, and the strength of your body.

In addition to that, we must very carefully monitor your cholesterol, whether you have high blood pressure, whether you have diabetes, and of course, you must stop smoking. Sadly, many patients, many people that we take care of with heart disease, are able to stop cigarette smoking during the time of this illness that they might have, but are unable to persist with that long-term. We ask you, we implore you, please put down the cigarettes. It'll save your life.

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