The heart has four valves. They open and close to make sure blood flows in and out of the four chambers of the heart in the correct direction. If damaged, however, they fail to open and close properly and the heart has to pump harder, which in the long run can lead to palpitation, difficulties breathing and even increase the risk of stroke due to blockage of blood vessels outside the heart.
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Heart Valve Disease
Causes of Heart Valve Disease
There are five causes of heart valve disease as follows:
Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease
Possible symptoms of heart valve disease include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty catching your breath, especially after you have been active or when you lie down flat in bed.
- Often feeling dizzy or too weak to perform your normal activities.
- Pressure or weight in your chest, especially when you are active or when you go out into cold air.
- Heart palpitations or a feeling that your heart is beating irregularly, skipping beats, or flip-flopping in your chest.
- Swelling in your ankles, feet, or belly. Sudden weight gain with possibly as much as 2 to 3 pounds in 1 day.
Diagnosis of Heart Valve Disease
The doctor will listen to your heart with a stethoscope to hear the valves opening and closing and the rush of blood through them.
The doctor will conduct an echocardiogram test, which uses sound waves to produce detailed images of your heart valves moving as your heart beats, for diagnosis and determination of the severity of the condition in order to draw up the treatment plan.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
The doctor will order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, which uses a magnetic field and radio waves to get detailed images of the inside of your heart.
The doctor will take an x-ray image of your chest to check your heart, its major vessels, and your lungs for abnormalities.
The doctor will use an electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure the electrical impulses given off by your heart. An ECG gives your doctor important information about your heart's rhythm and its size.
Treatment of Heart Valve Disease
People with mild heart valve disease only require regular testing and close monitoring. The doctor may prescribe the following treatment for serious cases:Medication
For patients found with symptoms of cardiac failure or those with a severe narrowing of the heart valve and signs of irregular heartbeat, the doctor may consider relieving the heart’s burden with oral drugs including diuretics (water pills) and digoxin.
Heart Valve Disease
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