7. Cause: Mitral Valve Prolapse
The final major cause of heart valve disease is known as mitral valve prolapse (MVP). It’s a very common condition, affecting as many as 2-percent of the entire population. In short, this causes the leaflets of the mitral valve to accidentally drop into the atrium when the heart contracts. This can cause the valve to become stretchy and create leaks. This is one of the most mild forms of heart valve disease, as it rarely even comes with symptoms and typically doesn’t even require treatment.
There are a number of other less common causes of heart valve disease, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, syphilis, high blood pressure, aortic aneurysms, connective tissue diseases, tumors, radiation, and some types of drugs. Be sure to disclose any of these things to your doctor if heart valve disease becomes an issue.
8. What Are The Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease?
There are a bunch of symptoms of heart valve disease. Some may appear on their own, but they can also appear in combination with one another. Some of these symptoms are also associated with other medical issues, so be sure to consult a doctor if you recognize any of the following symptoms.
A patient with heart valve disease may experience shortness of breath or difficulty catching their breath. You may have to sleep in an upright or propped up position in order to breathe easier. You might also experience weakness, dizziness, or even a sudden feeling that you’re too weak to carry out normal daily activities, including a dizzy feeling that might lead you to passing out.
You could also experience chest discomfort or pressure. It might become worse during physical activity or when hit with a sudden burst of cold air (like stepping outside in the winter). You might feel some heart palpitations. These are defined as a rapid heart rhythm, irregular heartbeat, or skipped beats. It may be difficult to recognize these symptoms yourself, so it’s best to consult with a doctor.
Other symptoms include swelling in the ankles, feet, or abdomen. This condition is technically known as edema and may cause you to feel bloated on a frequent basis or cause rapid weight gain. Those suffering from heart valve disease could see weight gain of 2- to 3-pounds per day.
Note that the severity of the symptoms are not always directly associated with the seriousness of heart valve disease. You could have a severe case, but be symptom free. Alternately, you could be suffering from multiple symptoms, but only have a mild case of heart valve disease.