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Heart Valve Disorders

by Michael Madson
  • Overview

    Heart Valve Disorders
    Heart Valve Disorders
    By the American Heart Association's count, some 5 million Americans are diagnosed with a heart valve disorder every year. The valves control the body's blood circulation, and a disorder occurs whenever they stop functioning properly.
  • Risk Factors

    Smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression may all lead to heart valve disorders. They are more common in the elderly, Blacks and Hispanics, and people who have a family history of heart disease.
  • Types

    There are two types of heart valve disorders: Valvular stenosis results when a valve opening becomes too small, and valvular insufficiency results when the valve fails to close tightly.
  • Symptoms

    Shortness of breath, discomfort in the chest, dizziness, weakness, irregular heart beats and unexpected weight gain are all symptoms of heart valve disorder.
  • Diagnosis

    To diagnose a heart valve disorder, a doctor will perform a physical exam, which includes listening to the heart, checking for fluid in the lungs, and inspecting the circulation to other parts of the body.
  • Treatment

    Treatment depends on the type and seriousness of the valve disorder. Medications and surgical repairs are commonplace.

    References & Resources