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What is the definition of heart valve disease? It is a condition where your heart valves don’t function as they should.
There are four valves in your heart, and each is responsible for guiding blood flow in the correct direction.
During each heartbeat, the valves open and close once. But when the opening and closing of your heart valves malfunction, it can disrupt the blood flow, cause leakages or blood flow may even back up.
Heart valve disease includes any condition that is related to the valves, which are the atrial, pulmonary, mitral and tricuspid valves.
Some people with heart valve disease will not develop any symptoms.
Read on to learn more about the definition of heart valve disease and learn about its symptoms, causes, risk factors, diagnosis and treatments.
Heart valve disease can manifest in a variety of symptoms. The common signs and symptoms of heart valve disease are:
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about any of the symptoms above, please consult your doctor.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, consult with your doctor.
He or she will listen to your heart with a stethoscope to detect any abnormalities, as well as check your lungs and examine your body for water retention.
In some cases, heart valve disease is a birth defect. However, this condition is often a medical condition with other causes.
Some conditions that can lead to heart valve disease are:
This health condition can affect individuals at any age, but it is more common in those with birth defects or older people. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors.
There are many risk factors for heart valve disease, such as:
To diagnose your heart valve disease, your doctor can listen to your heart through a stethoscope during a physical exam.
Your doctor may detect an abnormal heart sound or murmur on your physical examination. But may also detect irregular heart rate that can indicate a problem with your heart valves.
Other tests after a physical exam are imaging tests and tests for your blood flow. Then, your doctor can monitor your heart valve’s processes and choose a suitable treatment.
This test will show your doctor the shape, size and position of the heart; sometimes heart valve disease can enlarge the heart.
This may help diagnose those with normal heart sounds because it can detect abnormal heart rhythm as well as enlargement of the heart’s chambers
These tests use soundwaves (ultrasound) to produce detailed pictures of your heart and the arteries.
This test allows the doctor to see if there is any abnormality in your blood flow which can be caused by your valves.
Based on how severe your heart valve disease is, and what symptoms you have, your doctor can suggest some treatments for you. You may be required to get consistent medical supervision, and as with any heart disease, it’s a good idea to stop smoking if you smoke, and adopt a healthy diet.
Your doctor can prescribe you some medications to treat your condition. These may be beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers that help control heart rate and blood flow, diuretics to reduce fluid retention, or vasodilators which open or dilate blood vessels.
If you are already in severe condition, surgery may be needed. Typically, surgery involves heart valve repair using your own tissue. An animal valve may be used if you’re having a biological valve replacement. Or your doctor may use a donated valve from another person, or an artificial valve.
Now that you know the definition of heart valve disease, what are some lifestyle changes that can help you to manage this condition? The following might help you cope:
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.