Cardiovascular disease is generally defined as the conditions that usually involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a chest pain, heart attack and stroke. Other heart abnormalities, such as those that affect heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm also refer to other forms of heart disease. In heart valve disease, one or more of the four valves in the heart do not properly function, either to close or to open. As a result, this condition causes the disruption of the blood flow through the heart to the body. If left untreated, it might lead to fatal complications such as sudden death. Although lifestyle modifications e.g. sufficient rest, proper food consumption and regular exercise might play a role in risk reduction of developing heart disease, being aware of warning signs and symptoms of heart valve disease and having annual heart check-ups help to receive appropriate and timely treatment as well as reduce serious complications that might develop.
Get to know “heart valves” and
Four valves within the heart keep the blood flowing the right way by opening only one way and only when they need to. To fully work, the valves must be formed properly. They must open all the way and must close tightly thus no leakage is ensured. Heart valves regulate the direction of blood flow inside the heart which is a vital function. If they function improperly, blood circulation will be systemically affected, leading to life-threatening events.
The four valves consist of tricuspid valve, mitral valve, pulmonary valve and aortic valve. Each valve has flaps (leaflets or cusps) that open and close once during each heartbeat.
Signs and symptoms of heart valve disease
Although some patients with heart valve disease might not exhibit any symptoms for many years, common signs and symptoms of heart valve disease may include:
- Shortness of breath, particularly after activities or exertion
- Tiring easily or fatigue
- Frequent fainting
- Irregular heartbeat or abnormal sound of the heart
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