Symptoms and Causes of Valvular Heart Disease

A healthy, normal heart has four chambers and four valves. The heart valves open and close rhythmically to regulate the blood flow to and from the heart. The opening and closing of valves happen due to your heart’s pumping mechanism. However, a disease may attack your heart’s valves, leading to valvular heart disease. When you have valvular heart disease Plano, your valves do not close completely. As a result, blood leaks back into the chamber it came from, which makes you have insufficient blood to be pumped through your heart. Since valves cannot open fully, that limits the volume of blood passing through them.

Valvular heart disease can also be identified by a valve without a leaflet, a thin, strong flap of tissue. Therefore, the heart works harder to pump blood throughout your body. When a valve’s leaflet is missing, the blood pumping mechanism often becomes ineffective and may lead to a sudden stop in the heart’s beating, heart failure, and death.

Symptoms of valvular heart disease

There is a high chance you may not show signs of valvular heart disease until you have significant blood flow reduction. Common symptoms of heart valve disease may include chest pressure or tightness (angina), fast-beating heart, breath shortness, fatigue, lightheadedness, and inflammation.

You are likely to experience shortness of breath, medically referred to as dyspnea, because heart valve disease reduces the oxygen available for different body processes.

When you have valvular heart disease, your abdomen, feet, and ankles may also become inflamed due to the accumulation of blood and fluids in blood vessels.

Causes of valvular heart disease

  1. Congenital causes

Valvular heart disease may be due to different congenital causes, including a wrongly shaped heart valve size, a missing leaflet in the aortic valve, and Marfan syndrome.

When the aortic valve has less than three leaflets, it becomes difficult to close or open fully. That can lead to backward blood flow in the heart and aortic stenosis.

Marfan syndrome is a disorder that you inherit, and it affects connective tissue, essential fibers for supporting and anchoring different organs, including your heart.

  1. Acquired causes

You can acquire valvular heart disease from rheumatic fever, attack by harmful germs in the bloodstream, aging, and radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy is a cancer treatment that utilizes extreme radiation levels to shrink and destroy cancerous cells. If you undergo radiation therapy on your chest, you become at high risk of valvular heart disease.

Rheumatic disease is an inflammatory illness that can severely damage the valves of your heart if there is no early diagnosis and treatment.

Also, heart valves gradually become weaker due to the normal aging process; thus, you become susceptible to valvular heart disease, especially if you are over 75.

Valvular heart disease may also be due to other issues such as heart attack, heart muscle disease, high blood cholesterol, heart tumors, and coronary heart disease.

The treatment your doctor recommends for valvular heart disease will depend on the affected valve and the severity of the condition. You may need surgery to repair or replace a damaged or scarred heart valve.

Contact Heart and Vascular Care today to schedule an appointment with a valvular heart disease specialist.