Heart Valve Problems

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Looking At Heart Valve Problems

One of the most notorious heart valve problems known to the medical community is heart valve disease. In simple terms, heart valve disease happens when the valves of the heart are not working in the way they should. Medical statistics indicate that more than 5 million Americans are diagnosed with heart valve problems per year. These figures are starting to attract considerable attention from medical associations and government health agencies alike.

The more common types of heart valve problems are valvular stenosis and valvular insufficiency. In the first condition, the openings of the valves are restricted causing the heart to work harder to pump the same amount of blood to the rest of the body. This is normally because of stiffness in the muscles that control the movement of the valves.

In the second condition, the valve is said to be leaky causing blood to flow back to chambers of the heart. This compromises the efficiency of the pumping of the heart because it has to pump some of the blood over and over again without really pushing it out of the heart.

From these two heart valve problems, doctors have surmised that there are multiple potential causes for the conditions. Congenital heart disease is where the valves are not rightly formed at the onset. In other cases, valves can be perfectly functional at the onset but develop abnormalities because of conditions like endocarditis, and rheumatic fever.

In order to diagnose heart valve problems early on, it is very important to be familiar with the common symptoms of heart valve disease. These include shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations, chest pains, and even rapid weight gain of up to two pounds per day.

Once you spot these symptoms, immediately seek the services of a heart expert who will run you through a battery of tests to ascertain the condition. Once diagnosed, a very strict series of treatment options are assessed to see which ones resolve the problem best.

The treatment options for heart valve problems include medications such as vasodilators that aid blood flow to reduce the heart work rate as well as antiarrhythmic medications to help the heart adapt to a natural rhythm without risk of abnormalities. In the worst of cases, surgery can be needed to remedy the faulty heart valves.

Living with heart valve problems requires serious adjustments in lifestyle as the valves cannot be stressed beyond the point where the heart will not longer be able to adequately pump blood resulting in heart failure. Medications must also never be missed or it can have nasty consequences to the health of the patient.

Heart valve problems are not simple diseases to be trifled with and where possible, all care must be taken to ensure that you do not develop one. Exercise, eat healthy, and have yourself checked for any predisposition to heart valve problems so you can be sure that you are not susceptible to any heart condition that can put your life in peril.