What is Heart Valve or Valvular Disease?
Heart valve or valvular heart disease is characterized by the defect or damage happening on any one of the four heart valves which are respectively mitral, aortic, tricuspid or pulmonary. Here the mitral and aortic valves are the ones, which are most frequently affected by the valvular heart disease. In valvular heart disease, the valves become too narrow and hardened to open completely and also becomes incompetent of closing altogether.
Types of Heart Valve Disease
There are several types of heart valve diseases which are respectively;
Valvular Stenosis – Due to stiff or fused leaflets the valve opening becomes smaller than normal, and that is when it occurs. The heart finds it hard to pump blood through the narrow opening. Heart failure and other symptoms arise from it. All four valves can become stenotic, which means becoming hardened and that is followed a restricted blood flow. The conditions are called respectively tricuspid, pulmonic, mitral and aortic stenosis.
Valvular insufficiency – The other name of it is regurgitation and occurs when the valve leaks or doesn’t close tightly. Some blood leaks back across the valve. As the hole gets worse, the heart works harder to make up for the leaky valve and lesser blood flows on the other parts of the body. Depending on the affected valve, the condition is called tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral and aortic regurgitation.
Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease
Heart valve disease symptoms can occur suddenly. When it advances slowly, the heart can adjust, and the onset of the symptoms are not found easily. Severe symptoms can occur from a minor valve leak and vice versa. The symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing while the affected person is active or lied down.
- Weakness and dizziness.
- Swelling of feet, ankle, hand and abdomen.
- Chest Pain
- Rapid weight gain
Causes of Heart Valve Disease
Valve diseases can develop before birth and can also be acquired during one’s lifetime, as well.
Congenital valve disease affects the aortic or pulmonic valve. Valves are wrong sized or have malformed leaflets and are not attached to annulus correctly- these could be thereason for this disease.
Bicuspid aortic valve disease is a congenital valve disease which affects the aortic valve. This valve has two leaflets instead of three. Without it, the valve becomes stiff or leaky.
The other causes are:
- Heart valve tissue may degenerate with age
- Rheumatic fever causes this disease
- Bacterial Endocarditis is a cause of heart valve disease which creates an infection in the inner linings of heart valves and muscles.
- High blood pressure and atherosclerosis damage the aortic valve.
- A heart attack damages the muscles which control the heart valves.
- Other disorders like carcinoid tumour, rheumatoid arthritis, syphilis cause damage to the heart valves.
- Radiation therapy is associated with valvular heart disease.
Heart Valve Diseases Diagnosis
For diagnosis the doctor listens to distinctive heart murmurs and undergoes the following tests;
- Electrocardiogram to measure the electrical activities of the heart
- Stress testing or treadmill tests to measure blood pressure, heart rate, ECG changes and breathing rates
- Chest X rays
- Echocardiogram for evaluating the heart function
- Cardiac Catheterization, which is threading of a catheter in the heart chambers to measure the pressure irregularities across the valves.
Heart Valve Diseases Treatment
Currently, no medicines can cure heart valve disease. However, lifestyle changes and medicines often can treat symptoms successfully and delay problems for many years. Eventually, though, you may need surgery to repair or replace a faulty heart valve.
The following are the preventive options:
- Avoid smoking, alcohol consumption, salt intake, diet pills
- A course of prescribed antibiotics before surgery or dental procedures
- Long term antibiotic therapy
- Antithrombotic or clot preventing medications such as prescribed dosage of aspirin or ticlopidine.
- Potent anticoagulants such as warfarin prescription.
For more answers, solutions and remedy, you can always opt to SRL Care’s Fitness Care Performance Package or SRL Care’s Basic Fitness Plan.