Types And Symptoms Of Heart Valve Disease By Wade Robins
There are two types of heart valve disease--heart disease resulting from narrowed heart valves, and heart disease resulting from leaky heart valves.
There are two types of heart valve disease--heart disease resulting from narrowed heart valves, and heart disease resulting from leaky heart valves. Each of them stems from several different causes, ranging from birth defects, to bacterial infection, to aging.
Congential Heart Valve Disease
Congenital heart valve is the most common, and can result in inflexible or narrowed, or floppy, valves, or irregular valve flaps. Congenital heart valve disease is often diagnosed within a few days of a baby’s birth, but if the defect is minor, may not be discovered until much later. Heart valve disease can be very hard to diagnose because some forms of it do not produce symptoms.
Some people, however, acquire heart valve disease because of complications from another disease such as heart muscle disease, coronary artery disease and heart attack. A child who has suffered from a rheumatic heart disease because of a simple strep throat will likely to have a valvular disease when he or she reaches adulthood.
Heart valve disease, however, can also develop as a complication from some other illness; children who have had rheumatic fever following an untreated case of strep throat have a greater than fifty percent chance of developing scarring on their heart valves. A heart with scarred valves has to work harder than one with smooth ones, and as the years mount, the extra strain on the heart can lead to rheumatic heart disease.
Another form of heart valve disease which can result from infection is endiocarditis. Endiocarditis develops when bacteria enters the bloodstream during surgery or dental procedures, causing inflammation of the heart and scarring both its valves and leaflets. In the case of endiocarditis, the scarred leaflets will allow blood entering the heart to back up, or “regurgitate,” diminishing the blood volume within the heart and the amount of blood and oxygen which reaches the body’s other organs.
The elderly are susceptible to heart valve disease resulting from calcification, or calcium deposit buildup, along the valves.
Testing For Heart Valve Disease
Echocardiograms and MRIs are the tests best suited to diagnose heart valve disease. Either one will give the cardiologist a good look at abnormalities both in the main chambers of the heart and all its smaller structures including the valves.
Symptoms of heart valve disease can include vertigo resulting from a quick shift of positions, such as standing up or sitting, heart palpitations or racing, shortness of breath after minimal activity, and sever afternoon fatigue.
Those experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis should arrange to see a cardiologist and be tested for a heart murmurs, a strong indication of heart valve disease.