The heart is one of the major internal organs of the human body. There are four heart chambers with an equal number of heart valves. These valves are situated at the exit point of each heart chamber and are responsible for managing one-way blood circulation through the heart. The heart valves also ensure that the blood flows in the forward direction only, by avoiding any backward leakage.
Heart Valve Diseases Overview
What is Heart valve disease? It is a condition where one or more heart valves fail to function correctly. These four valves ensure the proper flow of blood in the right direction. In the case of a heart valve disease, one or more valves fail to open or close properly. This situation gives rise to disrupted blood flow from the heart to the body. Your treatment shall depend upon the affected heart valve, its type, and the severity of the disease. Some severe cases also require surgery or replacement of the heart valve.
A person can develop heart valve disease before birth, known as a congenital disease, or can develop it at a later stage of life. Other types of heart valve diseases are Bicuspid valve disease, Acquired valve disease, and Mitral valve prolapse. Here are some common causes of this disease:
- Born with an abnormal valve/s
- Had suffered from rheumatic fever
- Endured a heart attack in the past
- Suffered the condition of cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disorder
- Increasing age
- Any history of endocarditis
- Syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease
- Connective tissue disorder
- Aortic aneurysms
- Constant high blood pressure
- Any medical history of tumours and radiation therapies
Unfortunately, people with heart valve disease may not identify the underlying symptoms for a long time. Some common symptoms of heart valve disease:
- Constant feeling of fatigue
- A situation of a heart murmur or abnormal sound detected during stethoscope examination
- Breathlessness, especially during any activity and even while lying down
- Feeling of Dizziness
- Instances of Fainting
- Irregular heartbeat
If you identify these symptoms of a heart valve disease, you should visit a cardiologist. It can be the symptoms of heart valve disease. Senior citizens and the people who had encountered any type of heart infection in the past are more prone to these diseases. Also, people who have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, family history of heart diseases are vulnerable to heart valve diseases. Any delay in consulting doctors and following treatment procedures can lead to the following complications in some cases;
- Heart valve disease can cause many complications, including:
- Heart failure
- Blood clots
- Heart rhythm abnormalities
Guide to Treatment Option: Is Surgery Necessary?
Your doctor may examine you for the symptoms above and signs with the help of physical examinations. He will listen carefully to your heartbeat and any unusual sounds coming from it. He can prescribe several tests like:
- Chest X-Ray
- Cardiac MRI
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Stress Tests or Exercise Tests
The heart valve disease treatment completely depends upon your current medical condition and symptoms. A team of medical staff and cardiologists will examine your condition and will advise the best possible treatment for you. You might also be required to be in constant touch with the medical team for any developments and medications.
The doctor may also advise you about some crucial lifestyle changes to prevent future complications. Whether you need surgery to improve your condition or not, will be decided by your doctor. It is done to replace or repair the damaged heart valve. Different surgery options available are:
Heart Valve Repair – This procedure is concluded using a thin and long tube called catheter used for repairing the heart valve. A balloon attached to the tip of the catheter and is directed into the artery through the arm. The aircraft is then inflated to expand the valve opening. Once the job is done, the balloon is deflated, and both cathedral and balloon are removed.
Heart Valve Replacement – There are two types of heart valve replacement treatments. Mechanical valve replacement is the process in which the heart valve cannot be repaired and is replaced by an automatic valve. This valve is made from the heart tissues of a cow, pig, or human being. Biological tissue valves damage in some time and eventually needs to be replaced. Discuss with your doctor to understand the best procedure for you.
Make sure you eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy body weight. Try to find different ways to manage your stress. If you consume tobacco or alcohol, make sure you quit it with immediate effect. Include physical activities like jogging and a brisk walk in your daily life. Keep your family, friends, and your doctor close and informed about your medical health regularly.