Heart Valve Disease
By: Nour Foual
What is Heart Valve Disease?
Heart valve disease occurs when the heart valves do not work the way they should. The heart has 4 valves, which include the tricuspid, mitral, pulmonary, and aortic valves. These valves have the function to open and close the tissue flaps with each heartbeat. The flaps make sure blood flows in the right direction through your heart's four chambers and to the rest of your body to ensure a healthy heart and a healthy life.
Heart Conditions and other disorders can contribute to this general disease-- they catalyze what's to come. The exact cause isn't know, however, there are many factors that can lead up to this disease. It can occur alone or with other types of congenital heart defects. The aortic valve is prone to this problem.
Unusual fatigue that is caused by rheumatic fever is a major sign you possibly might have this diease. Heart murmur, unusual fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling in your feet/legs/abdomen/veins in neck, painful sore throat, fever, and white spots on your tonsils are all symptoms of you having this disease.
The doctor will ask about signs and symptoms....he/she will do an physical examination. Possible tests and procedures that one could be tested for (if they show the symptoms mentioned above) echocardiography, EKG, chest x-ray, cardiac catheterization, stress testing, electrocardiogram, auscultation, and cardiac MRI. The doctor can detect a heart valve problem and find out the nature of your valve damage by talking with you about your symptoms and performing a number of tests mentioned above to limit this disease to a minimum. Surgery could possibly be an option to replace the damaged heart valves.
The prevalence for heart valve disease remains common in industrialized countries. The occurrence also increases sharply with age. Men older than 65 are at risk, and women older than 75 are at risk. More than one in eight people age 75 and older have moderate or severe valve disease.
How It Can be Prevented
See your doctor if you have signs of strep infection or rheumatic fever. In addition to that, if you are experiencing complications with the other symptoms mentioned, see your doctor as soon as possible. If you do have strep throat, make sure you take medication. A healthy diet and exercising regularly can go a long way, and it can overall give you a healthy lifestyle.
Risk Factors/ Complications
There are risk factors you can control and risk factors you can't control in any given situation. For this disease, this outlook can go the same way. Advancing age and congenital heart problems (present from birth) are factors beyond anyone's control. Factors you can control include infections and untreated strep throat, which can lead to rheumatic fever, and in effect, can cause heart valve disease.
Current Treatment Options
Currently, no medicines can cure heart valve disease right off the bat. However, lifestyle changes and medicines often can successfully treat the symptoms mentioned before and delay problems for many years. Eventually, though, you may need surgery to repair or replace a faulty heart valve. One can take chances on investigating other heart problems that can possibly cause heart valve disease.
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