What is Valvular Heart Disease?
The human heart contains four valves that control blood flow to and from the heart and through the entire body. There are three primary problems heart valves face:
Atresia – There is no opening and the valve is not formed, meaning blood is blocked from moving between the heart chambers.
Regurgitation – Blood leaks backward into the heart because the valve flaps won’t close properly.
Stenosis – The valve opening narrows as valve flaps thicken, harden, or fuse together, reducing bloodflow.
Valvular heart disease, or heart valve disease, can be present for years before symptoms begin to show up. Symptoms can include:
- Chest Pain
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Shortness of Breath
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What Causes Valvular Heart Disease?
Valvular heart disease is often present from birth, or congenital. However, valvular issues and defects can be caused later in life as well. There are numerous ways heart valves can be damaged, such as:
- Heart Attack
- High Blood Pressure
- Carcinoid Tumors
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Lifestyle factors can also play a role in the development or progression of valvular heart disease. Obesity, poor diet, excessive smoking or drinking, and significant stress can all contribute to the severity of the disease.
How Middle Georgia Heart Can Help
Our providers are among the best in the region and are committed to providing the highest level of cardio care. We’ll begin by conducting the necessary tests to accurately diagnose the condition. Tests for determining valvular heart disease include electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG), echocardiogram, stress tests, and heart monitors. As part of our comprehensive approach, we will assist patients in determining healthy lifestyle habits like not smoking, limiting alcohol, and eating a healthy diet in order to better treat valvular heart disease. Our providers will prescribe medication and hospital treatments as necessary.