Valve Disease

Valve Disease
Heart valve disease refers to any condition that stops the heart valves from functioning efficiently. There are various different conditions that fall under the bracket of heart valve disease. These include:
  • Valvular stenosis
  • Valvular insufficiency
  • Valvular atresia
Valve disease is often identified by the following symptoms:
  • Increasing shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Swelling of ankles, feet or abdomen
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Chest discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Fever, chills, etc. (if valve dysfunction is caused by infections)
Valve disease are a fairly common condition, but if left untreated, can turn dangerous and fatal to the body. In extreme cases, it can even lead to heart failure, blood clots, stroke or sudden cardiac arrests.
Valve disease is most commonly caused by the following factors:
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems that are congenital
  • Calcification or degeneration of heart valve tissues
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm
  • Heart failure
  • Infections in the heart

Diagnosis and Treatment

Valve disease is diagnosed through a series of tests, scans and/or examinations that can help the doctor understand the problem in detail and suggest the appropriate treatments. Diagnostic methods you may have to undergo can include:
  • Echocardiogram
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram
  • Exercise stress echocardiogram
  • Chest x-ray
  • Cardia catheterization
  • ECG
  • MRI scans
Once the root problem is identified, you will be suggested the right treatment to help your case. Treatments for valve disease can range from simple medication to even surgical replacements, depending on the type and severity of the disease. Some common treatments include:
  • Combination of surgical methods, including bypass surgeries, surgery to treat atrial fibrillation, balloon on a catheter to inflate valves, etc.
  • Medications, including ones to prevent arrhythmia and blood clots, bring down cholesterol and blood pressure, treat coronary artery disease or heart failure, etc.

Prevention and Remedies

Valve diseases cannot be completely prevented, but the chances of developing them can be greatly reduced by:
  • Getting immediate medical attention whenever infections or problems occur
  • Being physically active
  • Eating healthy and balanced meals
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Quitting or limiting alcohol intake
  • Taking given medications as prescribed, without fail

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Valve Disease