Heart valve diseases refer to the medical conditions that prevent one or more valves in the heart from functioning properly. The four heart valves include:
- Mitral valve: It is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle.
- Tricuspid valve: It is located between the right atrium and the right ventricle.
- Aortic valve: It is located between the left ventricle and the aorta
- Pulmonary valve: It is located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.
Heart Valve Disorders
There are two main problems that can cause heart valve disorders.
- Regurgitation: When the valves do not close properly, blood flows backwards through the valve. This can cause volume overload in the heart.
- Stenosis: When the opening of the valves becomes narrow, it reduces the flow of blood from the ventricles or atria. This forces the heart to pump blood with greater pressure for the blood flow through the narrowed valve.
Heart valves may develop both regurgitation and stenosis at the same time. Heart valve problems can lead to heart failure.
Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease
The common symptoms of heart valve disease include:
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Palpitations caused by irregular heartbeats
- Low or high blood pressure
- Abdominal pain
- Leg swelling
How to reduce the risk of heart valve disease?
Risk of heart valve disease can be reduced by taking precautions such as being physically active, maintaining optimal weight, consuming a healthy diet, avoiding smoking and tobacco consumption, etc.
It is also important to continue taking medication for high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol if the patient has those conditions.