Valvular Heart Disease
The human heart has four main valves that regulate blood flow through the heart and blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart. Valvular heart disease is characterised by improper functioning of any one or more of these heart valves. A normally functioning valve ensures blood flow with proper force, in the right direction and at the right time. In valvular heart disease any one or more of the valves do not open or close completely.
- Bacterial infections
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol and sugar levels
- Radiation therapy
- Congenital conditions
- Certain medications
- Chest pain(angina)
- Irregular or rapid heart beats
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of abdomen, feet and ankles
Diagnosis of Valvular heart disease involves:
- Evaluation of signs and symptoms
- Physical examination
- Stress Testing
- Chest X-ray
- Cardiac catheterization
- Heart MRI or Cardiac MRI
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Manage stress
- Maintain healthy body weight
- Maintain blood sugar and cholesterol levels
Treatment of Valvular heart disease depends on severity of the condition. It includes medications, regular follow up, surgical procedures and lifestyle changes.
- Medications used in the treatment of Valvular heart disease may include:
- Antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections
- Diuretics to reduce swelling
- Blood thinners to reduce blood clots
- Antiarrhythmics to control irregular heartbeats
- Antithrombotic medications to prevent blood clots
- Surgical procedures in the treatment of Valvular heart disease may include:
- Balloon dilation in which a small balloon is inserted into a blood vessel through a catheter to widen a narrowed site.
- Valve surgery includes repair or replacement of a damaged valve.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle such as a balanced diet and regular exercise is also important in the treatment and to further prevent occurrence of valvular heart disease.
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