A heart valve defect often goes unnoticed for a long time. Read all about the symptoms and treatment when one of the four heart valves goes on strike.
Heart valve defects: symptoms
A heart valve defect often causes no symptoms for a long time. Affected people do not notice that their heart valve is either leaking and does not close adequately or has narrowed and no longer opens properly. The symptoms of a heart valve defect always depend on how severe the disease is and which of the
four heart valves affected is. In most people, the mitral valve or the aortic valve is damaged. A heart valve defect can cause the following symptoms:
– Shortness of breath and shortness of breath – usually at first only during physical exertion, later also at rest – affected persons tire quickly – limited performance, performance kink – fast and often irregular pulse – usually in the case of a stenosis of the mitral valve – feeling of tightness or pain in the chest – sometimes dizziness – short fainting spells – rattling, rattling, audible sounds in the lungs – if the mitral valve is leaking due to an infection – fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites) and water accumulation in the ankle and lower leg (edema) if the pulmonary or tricuspid valve is diseased.
Always consult your family doctor first if you suffer from such symptoms. If your performance drops and you get out of breath faster than usual, don't blame it on your age – it could be valve disease behind it. In case of suspicion, the family doctor will refer you to a heart specialist (cardiologist).
What is a heart valve defect?
The heart has four heart valves that function like valves: They ensure that the blood flows in the right direction and not backwards. This is how deoxygenated blood enters the lungs and oxygenated blood enters the body to all organs and ties.
A valvular heart defect means that one of the four heart valves is no longer working properly.
aortic valve: left side of the heart Mitral valve: left side of the heart Tricuspid valve: right side of the heart Pulmonary valve: right side of the heart
The four heart valves prevent the blood from flowing in the wrong direction. In the illustration the pocket valves are closed, the leaflet valves are open
People often develop a heart valve defect with increasing age. Doctors also call the congenital or acquired disease of a heart valve a valvular vitium.
In most people, the aortic valve is narrowed or the mitral valve no longer closes properly. Both have to withstand some stress in the course of life. With approx 13 percent of all people over 75 If one of these two valves is affected. Men suffer from a heart valve defect slightly more often than women.
A heart valve defect can also affect a baby and is then Congenital. Most people acquire the disease, however, in the course of their lives. Heart valves are subject to "wear and tear" with age just like other organs and ties.
Heart valve defect: Life expectancy is limited without treatment
Valve disease can go well for many years because the heart is able to compensate for the defect for some time. However, this means some extra work for the heart. If the organ has to pump permanently more, an overload occurs. The heart muscle thickens. Increasingly enlarged. Eventually, the heart defect may result in heart failure (heart failure), which progresses further and further. If doctors do not treat the valvular defect, life expectancy decreases – life-threatening heart failure can develop, followed by heart failure.
It becomes particularly risky if you also have other heart diseases have coronary heart disease (CHD), cardiac arrhythmias (atrial fibrillation, for example), or have already had a heart attack. Also the Lung suffers from the heart valve defect, because the blood accumulates and water can accumulate there. Then the patients experience severe shortness of breath, which has a decisive effect on their performance and everyday life.
Types of heart valve defects
Doctors distinguish mainly between two types of heart valve defects:
– The heart valve is leaked and closes no longer correct: heart valve weakness or heart valve insufficiency (short: valvular insufficiency) – the heart valve is constricted and opens itself no longer correctly: heart valve stenosis (short: valve stenosis)
Some people even have both types of heart valve defects in combination. Then the affected heart valve no longer opens and closes sufficiently. Heart valves "wear out" with age just like other organs and ties. Heart valve being subject to calcification is not uncommon in older people.