Heart Valve Disease – Causes and Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease
Heart valve disease is a condition in which one or more valves of the heart do not work properly. Heart consists of four valves – aortic, mitral, pulmonary, and tricuspid valves. For every heartbeat, these valves open and close their flaps to make blood flow in right direction to the rest of the body.
Some conditions such as infections, age related changes and birth defects may affect the valves leading to heart valve disease. This condition puts an extra strain in the heart and can cause the heart to pump blood less efficiently. It is estimated that about 5 million Americans are affected every year with heart valve disease.
Causes of Heart Valve Disease
The following factors cause the heart valve disease. The disease may be genital or acquired later in life.
Congenital valve disease – The condition can develop in a child before birth. The pulmonary or aortic valves are affected. Bicuspid aortic valve disease is a congenital disease. In this condition, the aortic valve has only two leaflets instead of three leaflets.
Acquired valve disease – The valves develop the problem later which were once normal. The condition may be due to infections or diseases.
- Endocarditis – This could lead to leaky valves. The holes and scarring in the valves occurs due to bacteria that enter into the bloodstream during surgeries, IV injections and dental procedures.
- Rheumatic fever – Untreated bacterial infections of throat, strep, etc can cause the condition. The valves become inflamed, shortened, thickened, rigid, scarred and stick together.
Other causes of Heart Valve Disease
- Connective tissue diseases
- Syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease
- Heart attack
- Coronary artery disease
- Drug addiction
Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease
The signs and symptoms of heart valve disease include:
- Rapid weight gain
- Swelling of abdomen, feet and ankles
- Irregular, rapid or skipped heartbeats
- Discomfort and pain in the chest
- Dizziness and weakness
- Shortness of breath
Consult a medical professional as soon as you experience the symptoms of heart valve disease. The doctor detects the condition and finds out the cause for the disease and performs a number of tests to diagnose the condition.