Any problems related to the heart causes panic in any individual. But, most heart issues are treatable if they receive proper treatment. But sadly, many individuals don’t realize their problem on time and lose their lives unnecessarily.
While physicians and the common man talk about heart attack all the time, very few individuals discuss about heart valve disease and their ill effects on our health. As the name suggests, heart valve disease is a result of malfunctioning heart valves. These heart valves have tissue flaps that open and close with each heartbeat and these flaps are responsible for ensuring that blood flows in the right direction through your heart’s chambers and to the rest of the body too.
Heart valve can have three basic problems: regurgitation, stenosis and atresia. Regurgitation occurs when a valve does not close tightly. Blood goes back into the chambers instead of flowing forward through the heart or artery. Stenosis can happen when the valve flap thickens, stiffen or fuse together and atresia occurs when a heart valve lacks an opening for blood to pass through it.
Age-related factors, other heart conditions, rheumatic fever or infections can cause heart valve disease while certain conditions such as high BP, atherosclerosis in the aorta and scar tissue due to a heart attack can increase damage to heart valves. If you are unfamiliar with atherosclerosis, you can read A-Z details about it at www.firsteatright.com.
Some other diseases that are said to contribute towards heart valve disease include autoimmune disorders, diet medicines, metabolic disorders, radiation therapy and carcinoid syndrome.
Old age leaves no problems untouched and heart valve disease is no exception. Old age makes heart valves thicken and become stiffer. As people are living a longer life in recent times, the risk of acquiring the disease has also increased. Individuals who have rheumatoid fever, heart failure or previous heart disease are at a higher risk of acquiring heart valve problem. Smoking, high BP and cholesterol, obesity/overweight, diabetes, insulin resistance, sedentary lifestyle and family history of early heart disease are other risk factors.
The primary symptom of heart valve diseases is an unusual heartbeat sound called a heart murmur which your physician can hear with the help of a stethoscope. But, some people might hear a heart murmur without any heart valve problem and certain others might have a heart valve problem and have only heart murmurs without any other symptom until they are middle-aged or above middle age.
Some other symptoms that are similar to heart failure symptoms include constant fatigue, shortness of breath and swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen and veins in the neck.
Some individuals might also experience fluttering, racing, irregular heartbeat or chest pain while some others might experience dizziness or fainting.
Once the doctor diagnoses a heart valve disease, the patient must go for treatment. Presently, there are no medicines that can cure heart valve disease. But, medicines and lifestyle changes together can treat symptoms and delay problems for many years. Surgery is the permanent solution to repair or replace a malfunctioning heart valve.
Repair needs a small surgical procedure sometimes while at other times it might require a more extensive surgery. Valve replacement might need minimally invasive procedures or if the patient wants to have an efficient long-term solution, Ross procedure or the insertion of a new tissue or valve is suggested.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.