Valves are gates that are placed on openings in the hearts. These function to ensure that blood flows in the correct direction. A heart valve disease causes an improper flow of blood as well as creates problems in your heart. This article will illustrate some common valvular heart diseases, the risks they pose, and what remedies can be developed to counter them:
What Causes A Valve Disease?
Our heart comprises 4 valves, including mitral, tricuspid, pulmonary and aortic. These valves have leaflet-like openings that respond to blood flow. Any problem with these leaflets causes disruptions in the blood flow.
Some causes of heart valve problems include:
- Regurgitation: This condition occurs due to a condition called prolapse that results in valves not closing properly. As a result, the blood flows back into the heart.
- Stenosis: the valves become thick and stiff resulting in a narrow opening of the valves for blood to pass, causing a reduction in blood flow.
- Atresia: the valve isn’t formed properly. The solid tissue sheet hinders blood flow between the chambers of the heart.
What Are The Symptoms?
Some people often don’t experience these symptoms yet go on developing heart valve diseases. However, there are some common symptoms that one can watch out for and consult a cardiologist for treatment, including:
- A whooshing sound (a doctor will hear it when hearing your heartbeat with a stethoscope)
- Chest pains
- Abdominal swelling
- Dizziness and fainting
- Shortness of breath, especially while being active
- Fatigue and irregular heartbeat
Different Heart Valve Diseases
As highlighted earlier, our heart comprises 4 valves, each located to function at different chambers of the heart. Based on these valves, several valve diseases can occur, including:
Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease
Bicuspid aortic valve disease occurs because of naturally formed 2 flaps instead of 3 in the aortic valve. Most people often don’t recognize or get it diagnosed because of the symptoms not showing until adulthood. However, some may see these systems early in childhood, including:
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and fainting
The treatment requires the person to undergo surgery that is used to repair or replace the valve.
As covered initially, valvular stenosis is a condition where the valve becomes stiff and isn’t able to open fully. This results in a reduction in the amount of blood that passes through the heart’s chambers. A person suffering from this disease has to undergo surgery. The doctors can also use valvuloplasty, where a balloon is used for dilating the valve.
Mitral Valve Prolapse
This kind of valve disease results in the valve not being able to shut completely or properly. As a result, the blood passing through the chamber leaks, causing it to flow back to the left atrium. Some common symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pains, fatigue, etc. Similar to previous cases, the patient has to undergo surgery to get it repaired or replaced.
What Are The Potential Risks?
Even though it can develop naturally, here are some risk factors that one need to be wary of:
- History of certain infections that can affect the heart
- Old age
- History of heart diseases running in the family
- High blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol
- Congenital heart diseases (by birth)
Can Any Complications Arise?
Apart from these potential risks, the following are some of the complications that a person suffering from a heart valve disease can develop:
- Heart failure
- Blood clots
- Heart rhythm abnormalities
See a Doctor
It’s important to see a cardiologist when you’re experiencing symptoms of a potential heart valve disease. Make sure to find the best cardiologist in Dubai or refer to German Heart Centre for making an appointment with a professional cardiologist.