Valvular Heart Disease

Valvular heart disease is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. This disease occurs when the valves located in the heart do not work appropriately.

There are 4 different valves in the heart and each one of them must work well in order for the heart to work as it should. The heart possesses 4 chambers and at the exit of each one of them you will find a valve. The main purposes of the valves are to make sure the blood flows in one direction without any difficulties that might upset the natural flow.

The blood enters the heart through the mitral and tricuspid valves. Once the ventricles are full of blood these 2 valves will close in order to avoid any of the blood to return to the atria while the ventricle pumps the blood. Once this happen the pulmonary and the aortic valve will open to allow the flow into the aorta, the lungs and finally the rest of the body. When the ventricles start to relax the pulmonary and aortic valve will close to stop any blood from coming back into the ventricles. The process occurs continuously to keep the organs with a healthy amount of oxygen at all times.

Valvular heart disease typically occurs when the valves harden too much or become too thin to effectively open or close.

There are various types of the disease and they all can be dangerous.

- Valvular stenosis occurs when the valve cannot fully open due to stiff leaflets.

This can cause the heart to overwork itself resulting in heart failure. This type of disease can happen in any of the 4 valves.

- Another type is valvular insufficiency.

In this case the valves cannot close completely and some blood might leak into the chamber again which cause the heart to work harder and less blood can effectively reach the rest of the body.

There are many causes for valvular heart disease.

It can be the result of a birth defect or an infection. The congenital type normally affects the aortic valve. This usually leads to only 2 leaflets available unlike the 3 that normally people have. That generally results in valves that cannot close or open the way they should.

Rheumatic fever is one bacterial infection that can create many problems. The bacteria can cause the leaflets to become inflamed and rigid. Thankfully many medications can reduce the infection by this microorganism. This condition can cause several symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath and palpitations.

If you suspect that you might be suffering this condition talk to your doctor immediately.


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