- Aging can make valves weaken or harden.
- Certain diseases, such as rheumatic fever, can scar or destroy a valve.
A Answers (13)
Valvular heart disease is characterized by damage to or a defect in one of the four heart valves: the mitral, aortic, tricuspid or pulmonary.
The mitral and tricuspid valves control the flow of blood between the atria and the ventricles (the upper and lower chambers of the heart). The pulmonary valve controls the flow of blood from the heart to the lungs, and the aortic valve governs blood flow between the heart and the aorta, and thereby the blood vessels to the rest of the body. The mitral and aortic valves are the ones most frequently affected by valvular heart disease.
There are many different types of valve disease; some types can be present at birth (congenital), while others may be acquired later in life.
Valvular heart disease is actually one of the most common heart problems. Causes include the following: Degenerative valve diseases (age-related), infections (i.e. endocarditis, an infection of the heart valves due to microbial invasion), birth defects, an association with other disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus, or rheumatic fever (which results from untreated strep throat, uncommon in North America).
Other contributing factors are coronary artery disease (heart attacks can eventually damage the heart muscle and the mitral valve), disorders of the aorta such as dilatation or aneurism (can affect the aortic valve), pulmonary hypertension, or elevated pressure in the arteries supplying the lungs (can affect the tricuspid valve), cardiac muscle diseases (cardiomyopathy), hypertension and atherosclerosis.
Other rare causes include: tumors of the heart, rare gut tumors (carcinoid tumor), trauma and radiation.
Valvular heart disease has several causes. Coronary artery disease and heart attacks are conditions that can lead to heart valve problems; you can also be born with heart valve irregularities (aortic or mitral valves). The aortic and mitral valves can also develop problems if too much calcium makes them thick; the mitral valve can be damaged as people get older. Some medications, such as Fen-Phen and Redux, and treatments for cancer, such as radiation, may lead to valvular problems. Lastly, infections such as infective endocarditis and rheumatic fever, a kind of bacterial infection, can cause valvular heart disease.
Stress, stretch, calcium deposition and degeneration all are factors that lead to disease in heart valves. Recurrent inflammation, rheumatic heart disease, infection on the valves themselves is other reasons.
Heart valve disease may occur due to numerous causes. These include:
Frequently we can't find a reason, but in most cases, the treatment is the same, with medications first and surgery reserved for severe cases.