Some people who have valvular heart disease do not show symptoms. There are varying degrees of valvular disease, and not all cause problems right away. Because valvular heart disease can cause the heart to work harder, enlarge, and ultimately lead to congestive heart failure, symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, fainting, chest pain, and ankle swelling may appear as the disease progresses. You may also experience arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeat patterns; your heart may feel like it is racing or skips beats on occasion.
Peem Lorvidhaya, MD
- clinical cardiac electrophysiology
Location and Office HoursRhode Island Cardiology Center
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What are the symptoms of heart valve disease (valvular heart disease)?
Piedmont Heart Institute answered
Why should I take two baby aspirin for heart protection?
It's important to remember that aspirin - even that tiny little baby aspirin tablet! - is not a benign drug. Daily low-dose aspirin is not for everybody. Particularly for women under the age of 65 who are not heart patients or at serious risk of heart disease, caution is advised before taking daily aspirin. Aspirin carries a significant risk of bleeding. Read more on this: http://myheartsisters.org/2009/09/18/aspirin/
Amazingly, it may have been a simple typo in the British Medical Journal back in 2002 that started this idea that taking an aspirin every day would be good for heart attack prevention.
Dr. Colin Baigent, author of a 2002 study on aspirin therapy published in the BMJ, said during a HeartWire interview in December 2009:
“In the original print edition of the BMJ paper, the final sentence reads: ‘For most healthy individuals, however, for whom the risk of a vascular event is likely to be substantially less than 1% a year, daily aspirin may well be appropriate.’
Trouble was that last word “appropriate” was wrong. A correction swiftly issued by the BMJ noted that final word should, in fact, be “inappropriate”.
Dr. Baigent says he received “a profuse apology from the BMJ editor at the time.” Still, it’s possible the misprint in such a prominent widely-read journal helped disseminate a flawed message about aspirin in primary prevention.
It was never the researchers’ intention to emphasize that daily aspirin in low-risk patients was a good idea, Dr. Baigent claimed.
Do children grow out of heart abnormalities?
Children with significant heart abnormalities typically will not outgrow their heart conditions. However, some children are born with conditions that may improve or even resolve with time. These include some
- atrial septal defects (holes in the wall between the upper heart chambers)
- ventricular septal defects (holes in the wall between the lower heart chambers), particularly in the thicker muscular part of the wall
- persistent patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
Some heart murmurs may be present in infants and young children and are not related to abnormalities of the heart or blood vessels. These are called innocent or functional heart murmurs. These usually go away over time, though some may persist into adulthood. These are the murmurs that some people will say they "outgrew".
Other conditions may improve over time, such as narrowing of some valves and blood vessels. It is important to continue to have regularly scheduled follow up with your child's cardiologist if a significant heart issue has been diagnosed.
Why is it necessary to “stress” my heart?
If you are having symptoms that suggest you might have a problem with your heart, your cardiologist will need more information to reach a diagnosis, and a stress test is often a good way to get it. A stress test does not mean that you experience worry or anxiety; it simply means that your heart is put to a physical challenge. Here’s why a stress test may be necessary:
When you are taking it easy - resting, sitting in a chair, walking at a leisurely pace - your heart is not working very hard. Even if you have a build-up of cholesterol plaque in the arteries of your heart, you may not experience any problems at a low level of activity, because the heart is getting all the blood it needs to keep up. In fact, a resting electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) may be completely normal.
A stress test raises the bar, using exercise (walking or running on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bicycle), or special medications, to make the heart beat faster and work harder. Healthy arteries can expand to increase the flow of blood and oxygen when the heart is working hard. But if you have a significant blockage in your heart arteries, they may already be nearly fully expanded, just to keep up with your day-to-day activities. They may not be able to expand even wider to meet the heart’s demands during stress. During a physical challenge, the shortfall in blood flow will cause abnormal changes in the heart that are likely to show up on the stress test.
What are the health risks of having a congenital heart defect?
People who have a congenital heart defect like patent foramen ovale (PFO) -- when the patent foramen ovale in the heart fails to close and stay closed within the first year of life -- or atrial septal defect (ASD) -- when there is a hole or passage between chambers of the heart that is not normal -- are at a higher health risk of stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), and some forms of heart failure. This is due to the movement of blood and possibly clots between the left and right sides of the heart. Usually, PFO and ASD are suspected in young people who have syncope (sudden loss of consciousness, fainting) or in people with high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries (pulmonary hypertension).
What causes acquired heart valve disease?
Imagine that the heart's chambers are like rooms in a house, and that the heart's valves are like doors leading into those rooms. The doors can malfunction because rooms enlarge, causing the door hinges to spread apart, or because the doors themselves are damaged. Similarly, the heart can be damaged for a variety of reasons and its chambers can enlarge, preventing the valves from closing on their "hinges", or diseases such as rheumatic fever, infection or age-related changes can damage the valves. The most commonly acquired heart valve diseases are mitral regurgitation, which is leakiness of the mitral valve, and aortic stenosis, which is narrowing of the aortic valve. When severe, both conditions can require open heart surgery, although cardiologists can now perform minimally invasive procedures to fix these valves in appropriate patients.Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
What causes fluid overload?
Discovery Health answered
Heart failure most frequently causes fluid overload. When the heart weakens, blood flow returning to the heart slows down, backing up in the veins and causing fluid to build up in the tissues. The kidneys also are affected by heart failure, which results in a less efficient elimination of sodium and water. Fluid congestion increases because of the retained water.
Fluid overload, which can cause swollen legs, can happen with heart failure and with kidney disease.
Kidney disease can also cause fluid overload. Besides eliminating the body&aposs waste products, the kidneys also play a role in balancing the body&aposs sodium and fluid. When the balance is not maintained as a result of impaired kidneys, the sodium and water accumulate, producing fluid overload.
When patients have too much salt in their diet, limiting the salt in their diet may help. Or, oral medicines, such as diuretics or water pills, may be prescribed to reduce fluid overload. However, many people with fluid overload must be hospitalized because these measures stop working and they retain too much fluid.
How is the sinoatrial node like a spark plug?
Discovery Health answered
The sinoatrial node (SA node) is the heart's natural pacemaker. It is a group of cells that generates electric current. The SA node is in the right atrium.
At a set interval, say about once every second, the SA node sends out an electrical charge. At a rate of once per second, your heart rate would be 60.
A rate of 60 to 80 beats per minute is considered to be healthy. These impulses are the "sparks" that prompt your right atrium to contract, which starts a string of events that gets blood pumping in waves throughout your body.
The SA node is what sets the rhythm of your heart. When you need more blood to pump, such as when you need more oxygen to run a mile or climb a set of stairs, the SA node shortens the interval between electrical charges.
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