Heart valve disease can affect any of the valves in the heart. The heart valves have flaps for opening and closing with each heartbeat, allowing blood to flow through the heart of the upper and lower chambers and the rest of the body.

The heart has four valves :

  1. Tricuspid valve located between the right atrium and the right ventricle
  2. Pulmonary valve located between the right atrium and the pulmonary artery
  3. Mitral valve, which is located between the left atrium, and left ventricle
  4. Aortic valve between the left ventricle and the aorta

Blood flows from the right and left atria across the tricuspid and mitral valve, allowing the blood to flow into the right and left ventricles. These valves then close the blood flowing back into the atria. Once the heart chambers are filled with blood, they begin to contract, forcing the lung and aortic valves to open. Blood then flows into the pulmonary artery and the aorta. The pulmonary artery carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs and the aorta, the body’s largest artery, is responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.

Basically, the heart valves work by making sure that blood flows in the forward direction and does not secure or leaks. If an individual has a valvular disease, the valve will not be able to do this job properly. This can be caused by regurgitation, stenosis or a combination of both.

Some individuals may experience no symptoms while other disorders such as strokes, heart attacks, and thrombosis occur when the heart valve disease is left untreated.

Valvular heart disease

Mitral valve prolapse

This can also be called floppy valve syndrome, click marbles syndrome, balloon mitral valve or Barlow syndrome. It occurs when the mitral valve does not close properly, sometimes causing blood to flow back into the left atrium.

Most people with mitral valve prolapse do not require symptoms and no treatment as a result. However, symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and coughing may indicate that treatment is necessary.

The treatment includes surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve.

Bicuspid aortic veins

This happens when a person is born with an aortic valve that has two valves instead of the usual three. In very severe cases, symptoms of this type of disorder are present at birth. However, some people may know that they have decades to go without this type of disorder. The valve is usually able to work for years without causing any symptoms, so most people with premolar aortic valve disease are usually diagnosed only in adulthood. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 80 percent of people with this form of heart valve disease will be operated to repair or replace the valve, which usually happens when they are in their 30s or 40s.

Symptoms include shortness of breath during exercise, chest pain and dizziness or fainting. Most people are able to successfully repair their aortic valve with surgery.

Valvular

This occurs when a valve is unable to fully open, which means that insufficient blood is able to flow through the valve. This can affect one of the heart valves and can be caused by the heart valve thickening or stiffening.

Symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath, tiredness, dizziness, and fainting. Some people do not need treatment. Other people may use valvuloplasty, which uses a balloon to inflate the valve or flap replacement surgery.

Valve insufficiency

This can also be called a “leaky valve” and occurs when one of the heart valves does not close properly, causing the blood to flow backward. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, tiredness, palpitations, drowsiness, and swelling of the feet and ankles.

The effects of valve failure vary from person to person. Some people need to monitor their condition. Others may need prescribed medications to prevent fluid retention while others have valve repair or replacement.

Causes Of Valvular Heart Disease

There are a number of causes of various heart valve diseases. Causes can be :

  • birth defect
  • Endocarditis inflammation of the heart tissue
  • Rheumatic fever inflammatory disease brought on after group A streptococcal infection
  • Age-related changes, such as calcification
  • Heart attack
  • coronary artery disease
  • Cardiomyopathy degenerative changes in the heart muscle
  • Syphilis is a relatively rare sexually transmitted infection
  • hypertension
  • Aortic aneurysms abnormal swelling or protrusion of the aorta
  • Atherosclerosis Arteriosclerosis
  • myxomatous degeneration weakening of the connective tissue in the mitral valve
  • Lupus a chronic autoimmune disease,

heart-valve-disease-symptoms

Heart Valve Disease Symptoms

Symptoms of heart valve disorders according to the severity of the disease. Usually, the onset of symptoms indicates that the disorder is affecting blood flow. Many people with mild or moderate valvular heart disease experience no symptoms. However, symptoms can be :

  • shortness of breath
  • palpitation
  • fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • a headache
  • to cough
  • Water retention or swelling in the lower extremities and abdomen
  • Pulmonary edema or excess fluid in the lungs

How are heart valve diseases diagnosed?

If you have symptoms of heart valve disease, your doctor will start by listening to the heart using a stethoscope. He or she will listen for any heart rate abnormalities that might indicate a problem with the heart valves. Your doctor may also listen to the lungs to determine if there is fluid retention as well as check your body for signs of water retention, both symptoms of heart valve problems.

Other tests that can diagnose for valvular heart disease include :

  • Electrocardiogram is a test that shows the electrical activity of the heart. This test is used to check arrhythmia.
  • Echocardiography uses sound waves to create an image of the heart valves and chambers.
  • Cardiac catheterization is another test to diagnose valve disorders. This test uses a thin tube or catheter with a camera to take pictures of the heart and blood vessels. This can help to determine with your doctor the nature and severity of the diseased valve.
  • A chest x-ray can be ordered to take a picture of your heart. This may be your doctor if your heart is enlarged.

Magnetic resonance imaging can create a more detailed picture of the heart. This can help to confirm a diagnosis and help your doctor determine how best to treat your valve disorder.

  • A stress test can also be used to determine how the symptoms are affected by physical exertion. The information from the stress test can help your doctor determine the severity of your condition.

Treatment Options

Treatments for heart valve disorders depend on the severity of the disease and symptoms. Most doctors recommend starting with conservative treatment. This includes :

  • consistent medical supervision
  • smoking
  • a healthy diet

Medications that are usually prescribed are :

  • Beta-blocker and calcium channel blocker to help control heart rate and blood flow
  • Reduce diuretics for fluid retention
  • vasodilating drugs that open or dilate the blood vessels

Surgery may be needed if the symptoms increase in severity. This can be used to repair heart valves with patient’s own tissues or heart valve replacement with animal valves, donated valves,

About two out of three people survive a heart attack. For these patients, it is very important to avoid a second infarction because the chances of survival in a repeated infarction are significantly lower. Certain risk factors such as genetic predisposition, age or gender can not be changed – but there are a number of other factors that you can influence yourself to reduce the risk of a second heart attack.

Avoid Second Infarction: First Step is a Cure

Overall, about one third of heart attack patients suffer another infarction. The prognosis of a heart attack depends firstly on how badly the heart was damaged, but also on the behavior and lifestyle of those affected. The first important step after a cardiac arrest has passed is a cure for many patients – a so-called follow-up treatment. This type of rehabilitation should be followed directly by the hospital stay and usually takes three weeks. Studies show that rehabilitation improves the prognosis after a heart attack. In the follow-up treatment, which can also be performed on an outpatient basis, not only the medical treatment is continued and the physical performance is rebuilt, the patient is also informed about risk factors and educated on how he needs to change his lifestyle. Since this is often associated with the task of decades of habits, this is particularly difficult for many heart attack patients.

Take Medication Regularly and Stop Smoking

The most important factors to avoid a second heart attack include regular use of prescribed medications and abstinence from smoking. Only a consistent therapy can prevent a second heart attack. However, studies show that patient adherence diminishes approximately one year after the infarction. Five years after the infarct, only a part of the therapy continues consistently.

A second major contributing factor to the onset of another heart attack is smoking.

How-to-avoid-heart-attack

Healthy Lifestyle: Heart Sports, Nutrition and Relaxation

But even those who give up smoking and taking his medication regularly should also pay attention to a healthy lifestyle. This includes :

Regular exercise and moderate exercise are healthy for the heart – even after a heart attack. A good start after rehabilitation is offered by so-called heart sports groups, where you can train with other people under medical supervision. But regular exercise in everyday life is important, such as walking, cycling or gardening. In addition, heart sports can also boost confidence in one’s own body, which can help to reduce existing fears.

Overweight, high blood lipid levels and diabetes are risk factors for a heart attack that can be positively influenced by a healthy diet. Recommended for heart attack patients the so-called Mediterranean diet: This contains little meat and (animal) fat, but plenty of fruit and vegetables, regularly fish and in unsaturated fatty acids, such as those contained in olive and rapeseed oil.

Avoiding stress is also essential for heart attack patients if they want to avoid another heart attack. Researchers have shown that chronic stress can clog the arteries. In addition, stress can increase blood pressure, which also increases the risk of another heart attack. Heart attack patients should, therefore, look at how they can reduce stress in everyday life. It can also be helpful to learn certain techniques in stress management, such as autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga or meditation.

Continuous lack of blood flow to parts of the heart muscle causes heart muscle cells to die in a heart attack. A heart attack – also called myocardial infarction – is therefore life-threatening. Popularly a heart attack is considered a typical male disease. That’s not quite true, yet the myth persists stubbornly. However, it is correct that a heart attack manifests itself in men with symptoms other than women. Also, the male seems more prone to a heart attack than the female.

Which heart attack symptoms show up in men?

Typically, men notice a heart attack from a sudden onset of chest pain – more specifically, on the left side of the chest and behind the sternum. This pain is characterized by a duration of at least five minutes. Not infrequently they radiate on the arms (especially on the left), the upper abdomen, the neck, the shoulder, the jaw or the back. Often this pain is accompanied by cold sweats, shortness of breath, restlessness, and anxiety, which can range to dread. Affected are also usually very pale. Typical is also a tightness or a feeling of pressure in the chest.

Attention: If you notice these symptoms to yourself or others, contact the emergency physician immediately. In a heart attack, every moment counts. Some sufferers often want to wait and see if things get better. But that can be a devastating mistake. It also shows that patients are repressing the infarction and do not want to believe that it hits them.

These symptoms are considered classic. However, there may be other symptoms that are often not immediately associated with those suffering from a heart attack. These include pain in the superstructure as well as nausea and vomiting. As a result, those affected confuse the heart attack with gastrointestinal complaints.

It is also possible that the typical pain in the chest is completely absent and only atypical symptoms express. In some patients, the symptoms are so weak that they do not even notice them. In these cases, one speaks of a silent heart attack.

On the other hand, one can recognize heart attacks already before their occurrence by certain signs. Since they are not symptoms of the infarction per se, it is called harbingers, which occur in 50 to 70 percent of all cases. Many heart attack patients, not infrequently unnoticed, suffer from the so-called coronary heart disease, in which the coronary vessels calcify and constrict. This process causes the heart muscle in the long-term is getting worse and worse. The result is a chest tightness experienced by the patients, which occurs during excitement or physical exertion. The technical name for this chest tightness is angina pectoris. If it occurs more often, or if the seizures continue longer or become more intense, a doctor should be contacted immediately as it may be a beginning heart attack.

The treachery of a myocardial infarction, however, is that he does not announce himself in up to 50 percent of all cases. Also, infarcts can be completely “mute”. This means that those affected do not realize that they have an infarct. However, this does not mean that these heart attacks are less dangerous than those that are immediately recognized.

How do these heart attack symptoms differ from those of a woman?

While myocardial infarction symptoms are associated with myocardial infarction relatively rapidly in men, the signs are often rather nonspecific in women. For example, women often complain of upper abdominal complaints, nausea and vomiting, and shortness of breath. Only a third of all women feel the typical symptoms. In addition, the characteristic pains in the chest are often very weak or rather appear in the form of a tightness or pressure in the chest area.

In view of these rather atypical pains, a heart attack in the female sex is usually recognized much later. Statistically, women arrive at the hospital about an hour later than men. The late detection of the heart attack is also the reason that women die more frequently from a myocardial infarction than men.

heart-attack-symptoms-in-men

Why are men more affected than women?

Even if the myth is not true that a heart attack is a male disease, it should be noted that it affects men more often. Researchers suggest that sex hormones have an impact on the risk of heart attack. Because the statistics show that women are much less likely to suffer from myocardial infarction before the menopause. After the menopause, however, also increases their risk. Therefore, it is now believed that the hormone estrogen is a natural protection factor for the heart.

In short:

  • Men usually have the classic heart attack symptoms such as long-lasting chest pain, tightness or pressure in the chest and anxiety
  • Men survive a heart attack more often than women because their symptoms are more typical and they tend to be hospitalized
  • Even men may have atypical heart attack symptoms or suffer a silent heart attack
  • Men are more likely to have an infarct at a young age than