The average human heart has four chambers: the left and right atrium and the left and right ventricles. Each chamber has valves to keep the blood flowing in the right direction. The four valves are called mitral valve, tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve, and aortic valve.
Any damage or fault to any four valves is called valvular disease. Diseased valves can become leaky, where the blood leaks backward into the chamber; this is called regurgitation. Other conditions of the valvular disease include stenosis, where the valve opening becomes narrow, thereby restricting the blood flow; and prolapse, a condition where the valve flap is out of place.
The valvular disease can affect more than one heart valve. This condition can hinder the functioning of the heart, where it cannot efficiently pump blood throughout the body. The valvular disease can lead to heart failure or sudden cardiac arrest.
There is a possibility that a person can be born with valvular disease (congenital). It can also be caused due to risk factors like old age, infections, and conditions like other heart diseases. Some other causes connecting to valvular disease are:
Coronary artery disease
Exposure to radiation
AThe valvular disease can take time to develop, and there may not be any symptoms until it is advanced. It can also develop rapidly where the patient will experience the following symptoms:
Shortness of breath
If you experience any of these symptoms, get immediate medical attention. Have regular checkups and discuss any health changes with your physician.
Women are more prone to heart valvular disease, so consult a doctor if there is any history of heart disease.
The diagnosis of valvular disease will commence once you have initial symptoms and if the physician hears a heart murmur, a sign of valvular disease. Some of the tests recommended for the diagnosis include:
The treatment of valvular disease is specified as protecting the valve from further damage, easing the symptoms, and repairing the defects. The suggested treatment may vary depending on the severity of the patient.
The physician will monitor your condition and prescribe medication to ease your symptoms. They will also advise you for lifestyle changes such as having a healthy diet, exercising, reducing the consumption of alcohol, and being smoke-free.
If the condition is severe, physicians will suggest valve repair or replacement, considering other patient factors.
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