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Let's Talk Health

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Introducing Let's Talk Health, an initiative from Apollo Hospitals, where our endeavor is to share knowledge which you can use to keep yourself and your family fit & healthy.

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A Patients Guide to Heart Valve Diseases & Defects – Let’s Talk Health

Heart Valve Diseases

The valves in our heart ensure blood circulation in the right direction. A heart valve disease can occur from two causes – either a narrowed or a leaking valve that would obstruct the proper flow of blood. A turbulent blood flow causes a murmur in the heart beat. If a valve does not close properly, it can lead the blood to leak backwards, resulting in a condition called valve regurgitation. On the other hand, if a valve does not open properly, it can obstruct the flow of blood resulting in valve stenosis.

Heart valve diseases can be difficult to diagnose sometimes because certain types of this disease do not show any symptoms. The symptoms also depend upon which valve is affected.

Symptoms:

One of the most common symptoms of all types of heart valve diseases is shortness of breath, either with exertion or in severe cases even at rest. That is the surest sign of your heart telling you that it cannot keep up with the blood flow.

Another sign of the blood backing up as a result of the valves not working properly is in the form of a swelling anywhere in the body, but typically in the lower part of the body (leg/ankles).

Improper function of the valves can also lead to the blood not reaching all parts of the body. Fatigue and dizziness are also common symptoms.

Treatment Options:

Treatment options for heart valve diseases vary depending upon the condition of the valve. There is the possibility of medical and surgical treatment. Medical therapy helps to stop the condition from progressing and patients can opt for less invasive interventional procedures like Balloon valvuloplasty as well. Valve replacement surgeries can also be performed to treat such a disease.

There are two basic types of valves that are used for heart valve replacement. One is a tissue valve (Made from the heart tissue of an animal) and the other is a mechanical valve (Made out of manufactured substance).Mechanical valves work indefinitely but need regular anticoagulant whereas tissue valves may wear over with time but don’t need any such anticoagulation.

Heart valve diseases stem from a number of varying causes, from birth defects to bacterial infections to ageing. There are a number of causes, symptoms and treatment procedures, which is why it is very necessary to first discuss with your doctor about what is the best possible choice for you.

 

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