Heart valves act as a kind of valve for the heart motor: They ensure that the blood always flows in the right direction and does not flow back to where it came from. A Valvular heart disease prevents this functionality and can have fatal consequences. Lower forms in heart valve defects are Heart valve insufficiency or. Heart failure.
The symptoms differ significantly according to the severity, location and type of the heart valve defect. Many heart valve defects go unnoticed for a long time because they do not cause any symptoms at first.
The human heart has a total of four heart valves: the aortic and mitral valves are the most common of Valve defects affected.
A heart valve defect is a dysfunction of the heart that is either congenital or can be acquired, for example through an illness. There are different types of heart valve defects: The so-called stenosis is a narrowing of the heart valve that prevents the blood from flowing through it.
In the event of an insufficiency, the heart valve only closes incompletely, so that blood can flow back. When the doctor speaks of a combined Vitium, he means a combination of the first two heart valve defects.
A Valvular heart disease is congenital in most cases. Sometimes, however, one can acquire one, for example through an illness. There are a variety of diseases that can result in valve failure. A flu that has not been cured is one of them. Therefore, it is essential to avoid endurance training in the event of influenza, but also only in the case of a severe cold, and instead to take it easy.
If you go jogging with a bad cold, this can lead to a dramatic undersupply of oxygen to the blood even in young, well-trained people. As a result, the heart has to pump more intensely and can become so overloaded due to illness that one or more heart valves no longer close properly.
In other cases, the heart valves degenerate mainly for reasons of age: with increasing age, not only the blood vessels calcify, but also the heart valves. This process usually leads to a narrowing of the heart valves. Another common cause of the development of heart valve defects is inflammation of the same, for example caused by bacteria.
The symptoms differ significantly according to the severity, location and type of the heart valve defect. Many heart valve defects go unnoticed for a long time because they do not cause any symptoms at first. In some cases, such as mitral valve stenosis, acute symptoms can also be very clear. In principle, the heart can compensate for most valve defects over a long period of time.
However, this leads to heart failure (heart failure) in the long term. In some cases, valve defects are not noticed until then. A typical symptom is tightness and heavy pressure in the chest area. This is especially the case with physical exertion. In addition, many of those affected suffer from fatigue quickly and a general feeling of exhaustion.
Your performance and concentration can decrease significantly. Dizziness and brief fainting spells (syncope) are common. The specific complaints that occur also depend on whether the heart valve defect affects the left or right ventricle. With valve defects in the left ventricle of the heart, symptoms can be similar to those of bronchitis.
These include shortness of breath and a strong urge to cough (especially at night). Those affected feel more comfortable in an upright position than in a lying position. Cardiac arrhythmias often occur in the long term. If the right heart valve is affected, water is retained in the legs and abdomen, the skin turns blue, shortness of breath and liver pain.
Easy Valvular heart disease are usually only discovered by chance and do not normally need treatment. Usually they are symptom-free. Typical signs of severe heart valve defects, however, can be shortness of breath, a feeling of tightness in the chest, but also high blood pressure.
Sometimes you may faint. Heart valve defects are diagnosed using an EKG and ultrasound. With ultrasound, the cardiologist (i.e. a doctor who specializes in the human heart) examines the blood flow and checks whether it is flowing as desired. The EKG (also called electrocardiogram or heart record) is performed either as a 24-hour EKG or a stress EKG.
In the case of a 24-hour ECG, the patient has 4 electrodes stuck to the skin, which are connected to a small box about the size of a walkman. The box is attached to the hip. The EKG then measures the cardiac activity during a normal daily routine. Cardiac arrhythmias and suspicious noises are another indication of a heart valve defect.
The heart valve defect can lead to heart failure and thus to death of the patient. Usually, if the disease is not treated, life expectancy is significantly reduced by the valve defect. The person concerned suffers from severe high blood pressure and thus also from an increased risk of a heart attack.
Furthermore, stress can lead to shortness of breath and thus to sweating or panic attacks. The general resilience of the patient drops enormously and cardiac arrhythmias develop. These have a very negative effect on the patient's everyday life and lead to a reduced quality of life. In some cases, patients become completely unconscious or may die of shortness of breath.
It is also not uncommon for psychological complaints or depression to occur. The heart valve defect can only be eliminated with the help of a surgical procedure. An artificial valve is used for this, which usually does not result in any particular complications. In severe cases, inflammation can occur after the operation. Therefore, as a preventive measure, the patient must also take antibiotics to prevent this inflammation. With successful treatment, there is no reduction in life expectancy.
If symptoms such as shortness of breath, high blood pressure, or decreased performance are noticed, there may be a heart valve defect. A doctor's visit is recommended if the symptoms persist for a long period of time. If there are additional symptoms, such as signs of heart failure or a general decrease in well-being, medical advice is also required. In the case of impaired consciousness and fainting spells, it is best to call the emergency doctor or the person affected should be taken to the nearest hospital immediately.
The same applies to acute heart pain and severe shortness of breath. If cardiac arrhythmias are suspected, this must also be clarified by a doctor and treated if necessary. Elderly people and people who may have had a bad flu cure are particularly at risk of developing a heart defect. Viral infections, tumor diseases and other diseases can also cause heart valve defects. Anyone who belongs to these risk groups should speak to their family doctor if they have symptoms mentioned. Further treatment is usually given by a cardiologist or an internist. In most cases, therapeutic advice is also useful, since a heart valve defect can put a considerable strain on the psyche.
A Valvular heart disease cannot be eliminated by administering medication. Surgery is usually necessary. Sometimes the patient's own diseased valve can be reconstructed, but in the case of serious heart valve defects, the damaged heart valve is replaced.
Instead, the patient is given an artificial valve. If a heart valve has become too narrow, for example due to calcification, it can also be stretched using what is known as dilation. This is done with the help of a balloon, which is folded up and placed in the appropriate place and then gradually expanded.
However, this procedure is only possible in rare cases. Any bacterial infection can be dangerous in heart valve patients as it can lead to inflammation of the heart. For this reason, antibiotics are often given preventively.
The prognosis of the heart valve defect depends on the heart valve affected and the progression of the disease. The prognosis is potentially poor as soon as the patient's heart function is impaired. With a major heart valve defect, there is also an increased risk of an unfavorable course of the disease. Surgical intervention is necessary to ensure the patient's survival.
If the operation is successful, the patient can lead a good life despite the disease. Nevertheless, the quality of life is limited and secondary diseases are possible. These are mostly from the field of psychotherapy, as an inevitable change in current lifestyle and restriction of the usual options for health reasons leads to mental suffering for many people.
In most cases, a small or slight heart valve defect is treated with medication. The lifestyle must also be restricted and changed so that there is no life-threatening state of health.
Basically, patients with a heart valve defect have to undergo regular medical check-ups, as the heart's activity can deteriorate at any time. There is a lifelong possibility of an increase in symptoms and a failure of the heart to function. If left untreated, the patient with a heart valve defect is at risk of premature death. The heart's activity is disturbed and can suddenly lead to a state of acute health hazard.
Who one Valvular heart disease If you want to prevent, you should change your diet: Lots of fruit and vegetables, but little fat and meat ensure good heart health. Normal blood pressure (120 to 80 is optimal) and avoiding obesity also contribute to health. A lot of exercise in the fresh air helps. However, exercise should be avoided in the event of illness. Bed rest is urgently needed here. Often, however, bacterial infection can also result in a heart valve defect. Streptococci in particular are dangerous to humans.
Medical support after an operation on the heart valve is essential. As a rule, the hospital stay is followed by a cure. Since it is necessary for the patient to take anticoagulant medication, regular check-ups should be carried out. In the case of bio valves, this is necessary for a period of three to six months; in the case of artificial valves, these drugs are intended to be used for life.
It is important that those affected test or observe themselves after an operation and that they consult their doctor immediately after receiving warning signals from their body. Any inflammation values are determined by taking a blood count. High-risk patients should be given antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections.
Intensive dental hygiene and careful wound disinfection in the throat area play an important role here. In the first few weeks after the surgical procedure, twisting movements and lateral loads on the chest and heavy work should be avoided. Shorter flights are possible; long-distance travel is not recommended up to six months after the operation.
Sports activities should initially be limited to light hikes, cycling and swimming. If chest pain occurs or if the patient finds the feeling of constriction annoying, it is advisable to consult the attending physician. In these cases, echo tests are a method of diagnosing possible disorders after heart valve surgery.
When a heart valve defect is diagnosed, lifestyle changes usually have to be made. The doctor will recommend a healthy diet and regular exercise to the patient. In addition, luxury foods such as cigarettes, alcohol and coffee should be avoided. Overweight patients need to take steps to regain normal body weight in the long term. In addition to physiotherapy, which is usually recommended for patients with heart valve defects anyway, sports such as swimming or aqua jogging are ideal.
However, activities that put a lot of strain on the body should no longer be carried out. These include bodybuilding and martial arts, but also stressful situations at work. If symptoms suddenly arise, such as a stinging of the heart, shortness of breath or tingling in the right arm, the emergency services must be called immediately. In most cases, there is then a medical emergency that requires immediate medical treatment.
If the symptoms recur, a heart valve defect must be operated on. After such an operation, rest and bed rest apply to those affected. The heart must not be stressed in the first time after the operation and must be examined regularly to rule out complications. The doctor will tell the patient about individual measures to make everyday life easier with a heart valve defect.