According to Valve Disease Day.Org, 11.6 million Americans have heart valve disease and 25,000 people die each year from heart valve disease. While those are large numbers, it’s alarming to also learn that 3 out of 4 Americans know little to nothing about heart valve disease.

At Cardiovascular Associates, we take pride in using our 75+ years of cardiology care in the Birmingham community and treating all heart conditions, including valve disease. Our team of cardiologists work with your primary care providers to provide an accurate heart diagnosis and get you on the road to recovery.

What is valve disease?

The heart has four valves namely, the tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral and aortic valves. These valves have tissue flaps that make sure blood flows correctly throughout the heart’s four chambers and to the rest of the body. Heart valve disease occurs if one or more of these valves do not function well.

Who is more at risk for valve disease?

As we age and use 100,000 heart beats every day, our valves experience some wear and tear. This may lead to calcification, aortic stenosis or degeneration. However, other more common risks that may cause valve disease include family history and infections like staph and strep.

What are the symptoms of valve disease?

Symptoms differ from one person to another. Some people may display no symptom at all while others experience noticeable symptoms and can develop very quickly if the condition is severe. Some physical signs of heart valve disease may include the following:

  • Chest pain or palpitations (rapid rhythms or skips)
  • Shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness or inability to maintain regular activity level
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Swollen ankles, feet or abdomen
  • For some people, heart valve disease progresses very slowly and so symptoms are barely noticeable.

Can valve disease be prevented?

While heart valve disease cannot be prevent, physical activity and nutritious foods can help prevent high blood pressure and other heart conditions. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of physical activity in a week. Take your medications appropriately. Watch your calorie intake. Rest your body when you are tired.

What are the next steps to treating valve disease?

Listen to your body! Primary Care providers will refer you to a cardiologist if you do not have one already. Make an appointment with your provider today and ask about the cardiology care you can receive at Cardiovascular Associates!